Kindness kills

 As senior year comes to a close, I find myself being asked the same question by peers, teachers, and adults: How has your senior year been?

Despite the fact that I’ve arguably had many months to ponder this question, I always struggle with coming up with an answer. It wasn’t great—that’s for sure, but it wasn’t the worst either. I made and solidified great friendships, and grew apart from others. I achieved great successes and faced crippling rejections. I saw the best qualities emerge in my peers during times of stress—like selflessness and bravery—while simultaneously witnessing the most evil behavior in others: exclusivity, hatred, and anger.

   But I’ve realized that this phenomenon is not unique to senior year, but emblematic of life as a whole. Life is not easy or predictable. Everyone faces adversity, some more so than others, but everyone in some regard. And senior year has taught me that only through acknowledging the existence of these adversities and challenges can we become stronger.

   I’ve further learned that the way in which one faces difficulties communicates their true nature. You can have fun with almost everyone—but the true nature of their character is revealed in the face of hardship. Do they shy away from the problem or tackle it head on? Do they consider how others are affected by the situation or put their own needs before everyone else’s?

    There are moments of senior year I’ll treasure—like late nights in The Merionite room, long runs during cross country practice, and mastering the wheel in Ceramics. There are other qualities I will not be upset to have moved on from—like waking up early, and more seriously, the sometimes relentless competition that plagues LM. But the lessons I’ve learned in dealing with these adversities will undeniably stick with me as I leave 315 East Montgomery Avenue, maybe more so than derivative rules, chemical formulas, and anything pertaining to William Faulkner.

I want to end with a reminder, or a word of caution: kindness trumps everything. Though it can be so easy to get caught up in the loads of homework and extracurricular activities LM offers, I find that it is too easy to immerse oneself in all of their tasks at the expense of their character. At the end of the day, the goal you scored on the field or the A you got on a test may bring temporary joy, but others will remember you by how you treated them more than your respective accomplishments. I remember those who have graduated before me not by their GPA, mile times, or writing ability, but how they treated others.

As I move onto my next chapter in life, I hope to be able to prioritize kindness in the face of everything else when dealing with others. I hope that the Class of 2022 can do the same—treating others with kindness and respect above all else, whether that be at college, in the workforce, or wherever you may be. Underclassmen, I’m not going to idealize this: high school is rough, but being nice to others will make it much, much better. It is only through acknowledging and learning to properly tackle the hardships we face that we can grow as individuals. I hope that we, as the Class of 2022, can implement this kindness into our lives as we leave the halls of LM to truly live up to the idea that “character counts.” 

 

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