“The sooner you be you, the sooner the people looking for you will find you.”
I stumbled across this quote by an unknown author while scrolling through Pinterest. I sure wish I had realized this sooner!
I have always felt like a bit of an oddball. Starting in about 4th grade, I began to develop hobbies and interests that my friends found super weird. My brother and I watched the Kansas City Royals every night. I had never cared much for sports, but I loved hanging out with my brother and my dad and learning about baseball. Pretty soon, I memorized all the players by name and number. Then I started keeping track of batting averages, RBIs, and home runs. I was ecstatic when my family got to watch a Royals game in person once or twice a year. A few of my friends liked the Royals, but I was a little disappointed that no one at school followed them quite as closely as my brother and I did.
In 5th grade, I really liked Star Wars. I watched the entire series several times. I read books about Star Wars, built the Millennium Falcon out of Legos, learned about George Lucas and the actors, and even dressed up as Padme Amidala for Halloween. Circa 7th grade, I got into a few really good book series. I could ramble for hours about Percy Jackson, Divergent, Harry Potter, or The Chronicles of Narnia. In 9th grade, I loved Broadway musicals like Newsies, Les Miserables, and Hamilton. To this day, I will completely nerd out over Marvel, Taylor Swift, Wordle, marching band, or whatever book I’m reading at the moment.
Are you starting to notice a trend?
Now that I’ve completely exposed myself about these super nerdy obsessions I’ve had, let me explain why these random interests have been a formative part of my life.
At my small high school, there are only 14 students in my entire class! In such a small pool of people, I have often felt isolated in the things I love. This has caused me to suppress my enthusiasm and curate my personality to fit in with other kids my age. However, as I grew up and met people through FFA, I became more comfortable with the things that make me unique. I realized that even silly things like Star Wars and Hamilton can help me build connections with people who think like me. Although I was teased for being a “book nerd” in middle school, I now see how being an avid reader has developed my imagination and helped me in my written communication skills. All of my quirks make me special and human. I want to encourage you to be 100% yourself. Explore things that truly interest you and don’t be afraid to share your enthusiasm! Be excited about the things you love, because it will lead you to amazing friendships, exciting opportunities, and a strong sense of self.