Happily Unoriginal

by Hannah Mushahwar

When reflecting on my time at high school it is easy to hope that I stood out. After thousands of assignments that my peers completed just like me, I still hoped for a way to make myself original and unique. But the truth is, I’m not. One of my favorite quotes from Chuck Palahniuk says, “nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.” So, here are some ways that high school has made me happily unoriginal.

Whenever I hear “Empire State of Mind” by JAY-Z, I will be reminded of all the sunny days I spent in the press box with my friends for the baseball team. Anytime I see orchids I will remember getting ready with my friends before prom. When I go to Panera, I will think about all the days I spent more time talking with my friends than ever actually doing work. My favorite movie is 10 things I Hate About You because of a classmate who showed it to me. My favorite song is one a girl played for me on our usual late night drives after games. I have a favorite breakfast spot after going there every Saturday with my sister after swim meets.

At times I find myself scared to leave all the people and places I love, but I know that these memories of little moments are how we will stay connected. It is bittersweet that the habits, quirks and even routines of the people that we once loved will continue to live within us. And while I am not sure that I have left my mark in their lives the same way that they have on mine, I find comfort in the undeniable truth that these people have left a lasting impact on who I have proudly become. In fact, as scared as I find myself thinking about my time in high school ending, understanding that no one ever truly establishes an identity all on their own has made me so optimistic to start new journeys past high school and meet all the people who will only add to my list of favorite things.

So, I thank high school for showing me how much my friends and classmates have imprinted on me and know that I will continue to look back happily on all the people who have made me who I am. For the first time, I couldn’t be happier to be so very unoriginal.