High school is a time of transition. Most people in high school are trying to figure out what they want to do when they’re older and the type of career they want to pursue. Until two months ago, I thought I discovered my calling quite early. I loved working with computers, so I wanted to be a programmer. Turns out that wasn’t quite right for me, so I recently decided I’m going to be a music producer. But, back in high school, I felt there was just one thing I had left to figure out: me. Through my early years in high school, I thought I had a pretty good idea of who I was. I didn’t realize I’d change drastically. I started to wear darker clothes, listen to different music, and become more introverted. Early relationship problems made me question myself too. What are my weaknesses? My strengths? What type of friend am I? Am I the relationship type, or the type for life alone? Around the start of my college career, all those questions were answered.
Books were a significant factor in figuring out who I am. While I didn’t read many books in high school, the ones I did read had powerful impacts on me. Two of which were Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr. I didn’t quite know what genres of books I liked to read, but eventually I realized that young adult fiction novels were my favorite. After finishing those two books, I wanted more. I scoured around the school library looking for something that might interest me, but it was difficult not knowing whether I’ll like it without reading the first chapter or two. I gave up for awhile until someone very close to me at the time recommended a series named The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater. She told me that I would love it, so I decided to pick up the first book, Shiver, at the school library.
I began reading the first couple chapters and was intrigued by the plot. After reading more and more, I started to fall in love with the characters. Everything about them seemed so alive to me, almost like they must be real people. One of them stood out to me above the rest, Sam — the protagonist of the story. He eventually became my fictional role model, so to speak. I would spend a lot of time thinking about his personality and what he does in situations, and I realized that I’m very much like him. There were qualities that I loved about him. Sam was very passionate about many things, but also sensitive. He would do anything to make sure the people close to him were safe. Throughout the year, I would think to myself, “What would Sam do in a situation like this?” At the time, I had two very different thoughts in my head that conflicted each other. I wanted to be someone like Sam because it made me feel secure in my identity, but I didn’t want to change myself to be someone I wasn’t. I wanted to remind myself that Sam is a fictional character, and I should not compare myself to someone that doesn’t exist. I’m my own person, but sometimes it takes someone else, real or fake, to help you discover who you really are.
Throughout the time I was reading the series, I was in a relationship with someone. These books helped guide me through the ups and downs. It helped me figure out what my strengths in relationships are and what I needed to work on. The way Sam acted in his relationship, and the outcome of it, made me want to recreate it. I strived to settle for nothing less. I was more than happy with the result and was very optimistic about the future. Everything seemed almost perfect to me, and I had those books to thank for changing my perspective on love. But, because life isn’t like a teen romance book, the relationship came to an abrupt end. The phrase, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone” couldn’t be more true in this situation. I was lost yet again.
I thought I knew who I was, but I questioned myself more and more. I wanted more than anything to be who Sam was and to have what he had: someone that loves you wholeheartedly for a lifetime, someone who’d go to the end of the world for you. I was a firm believer in the impossible, and I probably always will be. Giving up wasn’t in my vocabulary because it was something that had a million meanings. One of those meanings wasn’t to admit defeat, but to be disappointed — especially in others. I never knew anything less than trying my best, so I couldn’t handle it when I let someone down. In the back of my mind, I knew life had its low points, and that I’d catch up to them eventually, but I never could have imagined it would hurt so much.
I wanted to get better. I wanted to realize what my purpose really is in other people’s lives and what’s written in the master plans. Eventually, my mind started to open. I took a step back and looked at myself in the mirror. “I am not Sam. I never will be Sam. But, I can have what he had but in a more realistic way”, I said to myself. I wanted more than anything to be me and feel confident about it. For the first time, I began to have answers to the questions I used to ask.
My strengths and weaknesses defined me as a person. Passionate, loyal, influential, dedicated and lovable, but also jealous, obsessive and distrusting. I know what type of friend I am to others, sometimes not always the best. I know I’m not the type for