The story of a nerd who tried to sabotage his own potential


Monte Finley, Staff Writer

It’s the time of year when most students eagerly anticipate the blissful pleasance of the summer ahead. It’s also the time when seniors graduate and set their first foot down in the world without instruction or expectation. As such, those of us leaving the news team to find our place in the world write one last story to lament the good times we’ve had along the way.

But not this one. This one is meant to analyze my mistakes through high school, so that other high school students don’t make the same ones. This is a story of a nerd who sabotaged his own budding potential.

First, make sure you prepare for your future. I entered high school as a poor kid with a big brain and a bigger ego, thinking that all I needed to do was do well on tests and some fancy college would give me scholarship after scholarship. But no one in my life knew a single thing about college, and I suffered for it. I got into thinking about colleges too late, and it stunted the potential. I may be headed to UNC next year, but I can’t stop thinking about how I could’ve better prepared myself. And, if you’re thinking, “This doesn’t matter to me, my future plans have nothing to do with college,” you may be right.  However, it’s better to be prepared regardless, so find someone who can help get you where you want to be.

Speaking of help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Ask any social studies teacher I’ve had, and they’ll tell you that I know my history. Yet I’ve never gotten an A in a history class. Why? It’s because of the assignments. At least once a semester, there will be a big project to demonstrate knowledge, but I was never good at those. But, because I knew I was smart, I was afraid to ask for help on the projects. So, they wouldn’t be as good as they should’ve been, and I’d get far lower grades than I was capable of. If I would have asked my teachers for help, or even for clarification, I would’ve excelled where instead I struggled. On a similar note, your project will never be perfect, and that’s okay. A perfect project is always worse than one with a few small mistakes anyways.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, get involved. Up until my senior year, I would do the schoolwork, seldom more than required, keep to myself, and go home. This year, by contrast, I joined the Knowledge Bowl and Robotics teams, started playing board games D&D with other students regularly, and joined the newspaper team. “Such a heavy workload,” you may be thinking. Yet I was maybe half as happy throughout those three years than I was in the last year. We made it to the state competitions in both Knowledge Bowl and Robotics as a team. I’ve spent many hours laughing and sulking over the niche tabletop with people who were complete strangers a year ago, and I’ve made my way to the copy editor in the first class I’ve had where I can confidently say I know the names of everyone around me. The bonds I’ve forged being involved are thick, and not ones I’m likely to forget in my later years.

My other mistakes are temporary setbacks, lessons that can be learned elsewhere later. But if there’s one thing you take away from this last article, let it be this: you will regret spending all your time locked in your room, so get out there and meet some of the wonderful people in the world, because the hardships in life are easier when you’re not alone, and when you look back on things, you’ll smile at the good memories.