Pressures, challenges, and some wisdom

Attending a school as highly competitive as LM certainly comes with its benefits, including access to a myriad of resources. However, there’s one aspect of LM culture that, over the course of these four years, drew me into an internal struggle that I’m sure many other students have faced. It was something I overcame, and I hope my experience may help each student with their own struggles.

Starting my junior year of high school, I became Mock Trial President. Faced with the legacy of previous presidents, Anna Dubnoff ’20 and Maayan Barsade ’21, I knew I had a lot to live up to. They changed the course of LM Mock Trial and made the club what it is today: a strong unit composed of incredibly talented, hard-working people. Before my freshman year of high school, LM Mock Trial was some unheard of club floating listlessly in the abyss of forgotten extracurriculars; suddenly, we were two-time regional champions and three-time state qualifiers. So you can imagine how I felt when the first year I was President, the team didn’t even make it to the regional semifinals. I was at LM, one of the top public high schools in the nation, and I had watched the team struggle under my leadership. I had failed the team, my predecessors, and myself. 

These intrusive thoughts brought me down the familiar spiral attributed to high standards and competitive environments. After all, the pressures placed on each LM student to succeed and be a paragon of excellence are omnipresent. But for all of the underclassmen out there, and for those of you rising into leadership positions, trust me when I say that if you believe in yourself, you can do it. The thing about clichés is that no matter how stupid they sound, they’re true. It was from the mistakes I made my junior year that I, along with the new team of incredible officers, was able to take the team farther than we had ever gone. This year, we became regional champions once again and are now one of the top seven Mock Trial teams in the state. 

If being at LM has taught me anything, it’s my own capabilities. Honestly, I won’t remember how long the Ming Dynasty lasted or the intricacies of conducting a geometric/binomial series (shoutout to Mr. Grugan). What I will remember is how the Mock Trial team had an incredible comeback despite facing numerous challenges over the course of two seasons. I’ll remember the
amazing memories and friendships that never would have existed unless I kept going. Forget the grades, the nagging voices of parents, and the one kid in your class boasting about their accomplishments. Self-growth is the true indication of success. I challenge you to see if you’ve grown over the course of a year or two. If you’re doing what you love, and taking chances without
the fear of failure, you’re probably doing better than most people in this world.

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