Creating Your Own Unique Path

Mar 13, 2009

Ryan Cookson - Lanphier High School
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

For many people, going into high school is a defining moment. Will you be a jock, a studyholic, a partier? The choices are everywhere. For me, this was definitely the case. Which path would I choose? Would that path be the one that made me the happiest? I went into high school with that mind set, and it took quite a while for me to find the answer.

My freshman year, I dipped my toe into many different social pools. I went to parties, but couldn't keep up the charade of pretending that the things that went on there were morally alright. I left that scene and tried out the scholastic one. However, it seemed that all of the scholastically gifted that didn't go to parties on a regular basis were a little too tame for my excitement-craving teenage mind. I tried to follow the lead of my two older brothers by devoting myself to sports. I joined a few of the sports that they played and loved, but soon found that my heart wasn't completely content with that either.

Who says that there are a set number of roads which you can travel? How miserable is a life ruled by conformity! Why not break out, be an individual and live life the way that you want to live it?

So here I was, deciding I was too tame for the party scene, too wild for the scholastic life, and unable to devote myself to a sport that didn't truly have my heart. I looked for a new clique, a new passion, in essence, I looked for a new way of life that was better suited for me. However, no matter how hard I looked, I could not find a perfect fit. Where else was there to turn? How could I be happy if I didn't know where I belonged and what path to follow?

As I sat debating which path I should choose, I asked myself, why choose a path at all? Who says that there are a set number of roads which you can travel? How miserable is a life ruled by conformity! Why not break out, be an individual and live life the way that you want to live it? I decided that day that my path would be my own, not one created for me. I would hang around the people that made me happy and follow no lead but my own.

I am now in my senior year of high school and I have to admit that I have loved my high school career. I surrounded myself with good people that make me happy, and I spent my time doing things that gave me the same feeling. I poured my heart into all of the things that I loved, and I didn't stress out about the things that were unimportant to me. Many kids go through four years of high school searching for happiness by worrying about what clique to belong to and following the paths of others, but what I have come to realize, and I wish that everyone knew, was that this is not how you find happiness. I believe with all of my heart that the only way to find true happiness is to create your own, unique path, do only the things that you really care about, and surround yourself with only the people that you love.