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Find your niche

Laker Notes

MYSOREWith the new year upon us, it’s time to reflect on the past year: our choices, our actions and the people and events that have shaped our lives.

I’ve been doing some reflecting of my own, and I’ve found that this past year has been a time of discovery for me. I didn’t discover life on Mars, but I feel I have begun to discover important aspects about my own life.

High school is, as many of you know, a time of personal growth, a time when you are supposed to find your niche. Despite this tacit expectation, many students struggle to find this niche and feel as though they aren’t good at anything.

My freshman year, I suppose I was one of these niche-less students. I followed the crowd aimlessly, hoping that this wandering would somehow help me find my path.

I joined the swim team. I thought about joining the cross country team. I did too many things I really didn’t want to do.

I was living life with the sole goal of pleasing others, of trying to mold myself into the Meghana people expected me to be. I never considered who I expected myself to be.

Who are you? I wonder if you can truly answer this question, removed from the expectations of your friends, your family, your colleagues.

I think this question, the one I hadn’t considered, is one we should all consider. Although I am a high school student and my experiences are likely to correlate with other high school students’ experiences, they can also apply to adult lives.

I’m happy to say that I have found my niche, or at least the area surrounding my niche. I joined the Speech and Debate Team. I joined the school literary magazine board and the newspaper staff. I realized I find joy in public speaking and in all forms of writing.

I realize how lucky I am to have found my niche. I realize that finding your niche is not an easy task. I realize that there are many people — high school students and adults — who are walking around today without a niche.

See, my niche includes writing and speaking, but your niche could be entirely different. It could be filled with baseball and basketball or football and golf. Your niche, most likely, is not my niche. (I really like the word “niche.”)

And that’s okay. I want you to find your niche. I want you to find what makes you happy, what makes you overflow with joy.

I firmly believe that everyone has a niche. When you find it, your life becomes much more worthwhile.

How do you find this magical niche? I don’t think Dante, Shakespeare or Mozart went out into the world with signs pinned to their backs reading, “Niche, Come Find Me.” I think for them, their calling came naturally. You should not, however, wait for your calling to come to you. Instead, look for it; try new things and find out what fulfills you.

Of course, few of us are Mozarts or Shakespeares, and it is unlikely that our music or our plays will be appreciated the world over, yet we can learn from Mozart’s and Shakespeare’s passions.

I’m sure that, due to their immense passions, they lived rich and full lives. I wonder how different our lives would be if we turned all the apathy built up inside of us into passion.

The only way we can do this is by finding something we’re passionate about. I challenge you to find one thing you’re passionate about this new year, and do that thing to the fullest.

I spent too much time in high school doing things I didn’t want to do. I also wasted too many days wondering if my niche was the right niche, if I should’ve loved swimming instead of writing.

I finally understand: It’s not about what you do; it’s about doing something that makes you truly, genuinely, sincerely happy. This is all that matters. 

Lake Oswego High School junior Meghana Mysore is a guest columnist for The Review. She can be reached at education@lakeoswegoreview.com.


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