The Student News Site of East Grand Rapids High School

The East Vision

Jack Theut Senior Column

Jack Theut, Business Manager

As I sit here reflecting on my past four years here at EGR high school, I realize that my opinion on EGRHS differs from others. I often hear many of my peers talking about how they’re going to miss this place so much or how high school was the best time of their life. However, to be honest, I had a pretty average high school experience, and I am ready to move onto the next chapter. I had friends, was on sports teams, and did decent in school. However, often times I felt as if I didn’t fit the “EGR mold” of being a straight “A” student who played on three varsity sports teams. While East is definitely a great fit for some, there are many people who feel out of place, and are often discouraged with the situation that they are in. Hopefully, some of those who feel similarly, and are having a hard time finding their niche at EGRHS can take some advice from me.
First, branch out. As a freshman I was often far too concerned with how others perceived me. As a result, I isolated myself from potential friends and sat out of after school clubs and activities that would have potentially been a great fit for me. Most of my friends that I have now came from joining Youth in Government my senior year, as well as journalism. Had I joined these activities earlier in my highschool career, I’m convinced I would have had a better overall high school experience.
Secondly, care less. While this doesn’t mean you should bomb all of your classes, and check out, I often found myself caring way too much about others opinions on me. As a result, I would try to be someone I wasn’t. This often held me back from pursuing things that would have benefitted me greatly. In the grand scheme of things, high school makes up a tiny percentage of your life. How others perceive you in the halls of your high school has no meaning once it’s over, and you go out into the real world. So do want you want to do, not what you think others want you to do.
Third, get out of the bubble. While East is a great place, there is much more out there in the world than what’s inside the bubble of East Grand Rapids. Fortunately, I picked up the hobby of skiing in middle school and because of that I have met kids from all over Kent County with varying backgrounds. Through skiing, I have met some of my best friends that I have today, and many of them go to schools other than East.
Last, don’t be judgemental. This is something that I wished I learned early on in high school, and in my opinion is the number one thing that holds people back from making new friends. Reach out to the quiet kid in the back of class, ask the “weird” kid to hang out on the weekend. You’ll probably realize that you have more in common with him than you think. Everyone’s weird in their own way and no one is above anyone else. Don’t buy into the social hierarchy, it only holds you back in the end.
There are 7.5 billion people in this world, .00000012% of those people make up East Grand Rapids High School. There is so much more to this world than EGRHS so don’t be discouraged if you are not yet finding your niche here.
While I can look back and appreciate what I have learned about subjects like US History and PDM from my teachers and about relationships by playing on teams, working on the school newspaper and trying to navigate the EGR social scene, I am realizing the most valuable thing I learned while in high school is the importance of being myself, taking risks and following my passions. I guess ultimately that’s what high school is for – it’s a time to grow-up and get ready for the next step. For me, I can’t wait to see what the next chapter will bring.

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