Passions Matter

Taking the dive into what you love to do

Jack Rogula, asst. opinions editor

“What do you want to do?”

It’s the question virtually every teenager hears, and the question most teenagers dread to fall victim to. 

High school is a time for self-exploration. A time for you to find yourself as an individual—everything that makes you unique, but also everything that connects  you with others. Whether it be through clubs, classes, sports, or anything else, high school needs to be recognized as a time for exploration into one’s passions, not only as a time for academics. 

My freshman year, I was offered a life-changing choice—which I didn’t know at the time. When I was offered the opportunity to take Advanced Placement (AP) European History, I shied away at first. I was worried; I had heard from my older sister that it was the hardest course imaginable, and that the workload was unbearable. I distinctly remember my peer group leaders telling horror stories of their friends staying up all night taking notes.

As a freshman, I was downright terrified.

But I had liked World History, so much so that I began to weigh the positives and negatives of taking the plunge into the “horror” that was AP European History. And when I finally made up my mind, and clicked on the tiny gray button next to the course’s name on Powerschool, I didn’t know what to expect at all. 

I’m almost certain that one click of a button, that one decision to take a leap into the unknown, changed my life.

I learned my Sophomore year, in AP European History, that history was one of my passions. Not just a favorite subject, not just a good class, but truly something that I would want to do for the rest of my life. 

It called out to me in a way that no other topics did, and instead of brushing it aside I indulged in the calling. I challenged myself by taking more history classes, joining clubs, and at the end of the day, I’ve shaped it into a part of my identity. Two years later it’s what I hope to study in college.

I’m not trying to advertise history courses, but I am trying to advertise taking a leap into the unknown. 

As cheesy as it sounds, you really don’t know until you try it. And while there sadly isn’t enough time in a lifetime to try everything, to find each and every one of your would-be passions waiting to be discovered, the worst crime you can commit against yourself is never taking the leap at all.

The second passion I found myself enamored with was film. It started as an obsession with movies—my free time was spent browsing the home pages of Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video, watching and obsessing over each movie that caught my eye. I loved films, and they called out to me in a way unlike history or writing ever had. My favorite childhood films, The Adventures of Tintin, Wall-E, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, all lit a spark in my brain that traveled down to my heart and burned ferociously.

Once again in Sophomore year, I had the opportunity to explore this passion of mine in an academic way, with South’s Film Studies course. It opened my eyes to the different ways one could analyze movies, and I felt as though a piece of my soul had been unlocked. 

In the fall of my junior year, I found my parent’s old 2007 Sony Handycam. It became my most prized possession—my own golden ticket into the world of filmmaking. 

I took the camera with me everywhere, filming my friends, my family, the forest, and all the hijinks that come with being a teenage boy. For the first time in my life I felt as though I had complete creative control over something I loved to do; it gave me a true taste of artistic independence, the kind I had always strived to achieve. I put together absurd little scenes with my friends: zombie apocalypses, Blair Witch Project parodies, and mock courtroom dramas. 

I discovered writing to be my third passion in Sophomore year as well, and has only continued to grow into a larger and more paramount part of my being.

 The newspaper has given me a way to express myself to the world– a way to print out all the words that formulated in my mind onto paper, in a place where people could see what I had to say. There was an initial bout of anxiety that came with writing for all my peers to see, but the more words I put out into the world, the more I found myself taking pride in each and every sentence. 

Lose yourself in your own curiosity, and never let fear or uncertainty forever block off paths to new opportunities. “Carpe Diem” is famously seizing the day, but I say instead, “Carpe Te.”

Seize your own self.