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The Sage

Keeping Your House Intact

Sam Bodnar, Editor-in-Chief

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An open letter to underclassmen and my peers struggling to fit in,

High school will try to tear down your house.

There are thousands of details that need to be pieced together in order to construct one, and if you fail to follow your blueprints, everything will crumble.

A few weeks back, I was sitting in my classroom at Palomar College listening to a calculus lecture when my professor pointed out something that really clicked with me. We were discussing how the room’s construction of multiple layers of scarlet bricks kept everything intact and that “if one layer were to be removed, the entire building would collapse.”

This example from my professor closely resembles my personal struggle with keeping my mental home standing through my four years at Sage Creek.

In middle school I transformed from athlete to thespian and developed entirely new interests than I had before. My house composed of basketballs and baseballs turned into my castle of scripts and sheet music. My face that used to be drenched with sweat from physical contact is now dripping in makeup and eyeliner from spotlights during a dance break.

Although my interests changed, I didn´t.

My blueprints remained the same. I remained loyal to my friends and gave them the respect they deserved, while others were selling out. George W. Bush said it best when he reflected that “one of [his] proudest moments is [that he] didn’t sell [his] soul for the sake of popularity.”

The people who I surrounded myself with were the essential bricks that helped me keep my house standing, but unfortunately not all of the bricks stayed in their spots. Suddenly, when it came to the alluring light of popularity, my mental home was turned into a game of Jenga.

Freshman year is when I first met a majority of the friends that I have now and it is also where I began to lose and distance myself from some of the closest who I arrived with. I quickly realized that being myself was no longer good enough for the bricks that kept my house intact.

Soon enough, half a decade’s friendships were worthless when the popularity spots were up for grabs. Soon enough, calls stopped coming and my very presence went unnoticed. Soon enough, my house fell apart because a few lousy bricks decided to loosen the cement off their shoes and go for a stroll with alcohol and drugs.

Turned out my blueprints weren’t perfect and here is where everything ultimately deconstructed: I let other people’s actions and opinions about me dictate my house’s structure.

To all my underclassmen out there: don’t you dare change who you are because you aren’t being accepted by the “popular” crowd. Don’t you dare (even for the smallest ounce of a second) believe that you should rebuild your house because your friends are making terrible choices. Stick to your blueprints and be yourself.

It’s okay to have different interests than your peers, that’s what makes us so diverse and unique. But do not let their perspectives huff, puff, and blow your house down.

Actor Jeremy Luke, famous for adapting and reacting to shark attacks in Jersey Shore Shark Attack, beautifully explained that “the definition of success is not a price tag, not fame, but having a good life, and being able to say I did the right thing at the end of the day.”

When your head hits the pillow every night, be thankful for the roof over your head, the kind acts you were able to contribute, and the self-control you exhibited by not giving into temptations.

Doing this kept me in check and I am in a much happier place than I was three years ago. And if you’re reading this with the viewpoint I struggled to overcome, you need to do the following:

  1. Get the wheelbarrow from your garage and haul it over to the demolition site that was once your home.
  2. Piece by piece, pick up the shattered bricks and throw them in with the satisfaction that they can never hurt you again.
  3. Devise entirely new floor-plans and put them into action.

Once your residence is fully constructed, nobody will tear it down.  

Accepting that you’re not being accepted is not going to be easy and neither is the recovery; I never said it was. Everyone is in different phases of the reconstructing process, and rebuilding your house brick by brick is the strongest way to ensure it stays standing.

Do not allow another’s opinions or decisions to be your cement or bricks. This last message may seem redundant or cliche, but I will enforce this anyway. Stay away from drugs; they are not cool; they will not benefit you in any way, shape, or form; and they will not raise your social status.

Just be yourself. Stay strong. Keep your house intact.

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The Sage Publication
Keeping Your House Intact