By Adam Koplik, Editor-in-Chief
I have a confession to make. I’ve thought long and hard about this, and I am finally ready to admit it, here, now, to a college admissions counselor—I like math. There, I said it. After years of holding in my tiny grin when I correctly find x, acting like I don’t know the answer in class when I do, and falsely labeling the subject as boring and stupid, I’m officially declaring my love of math. So why have I hidden this affinity from my friends for my entire school career? Simple: math is not cool. Saying math is fun is like admitting you like Nickelback – which is an admission for another time – it’s taboo. I never realized the extent to which I’ve changed myself to fit in.
In the summer between third and fourth grade, I was in a rendition of Little Shop of Horrors. I suited up as the great Mr. Mushnik— the shop owning antagonist who finds himself eaten near the play’s end. And guess what? I killed it. Every inch of my abnormally tall, superbly thin, speech impediment riddled self graced the stage with the performance of a lifetime. I stole the show. Critics (my parents) described it as “one of the best acting performances” they’d ever seen. They laughed, they cried. It was a rollercoaster of emotions; truly something to behold.
I haven’t been in a play since. Why? That same summer my family and I moved. Not only was I changing zip codes, but I was to endure the added bonus of experiencing public school for the first time. After spending the first years of my education in a progressive Montessori school, I was clueless to the public school lifestyle. I spent the summer studying the ways of Ned’s Declassified: School Survival Guide and readying myself to try and make new friends. This included changing who I was in order to become someone who fit the universal characteristics of “cool”. And, according to TV, cool kids don’t do plays or like math. So, I put on a mask.
The decision I made when I was nine to change who I was and make a sorry attempt at becoming “cool” caused a fissure in my personality, masking the true me. The thing I most look forward to at college is being able to lay the fake me to rest, allowing the real me to show his face.
So who’s the real me? I’m not quite sure. I know I like learning for learning’s sake, making people laugh, trying new things, and yes, Nickelback. I know there are things I do well. Outside of math and being tall, I consider my ambition and risk-taking (although I’m terrified to send food back in a restaurant) to be a strength. By taking a chance, I’ve manufactured multiple podcasts, a broadcasting position, a radio show, brought my school newspaper online, and created my own internship. I’m an analytical thinker who always looks for outside the box and creative solutions, like my desire to create my own major in college. I try to put myself in other people’s shoes and do my best not to judge. However, I’ve kept the true Adam under cover for so long, there is still much to discover about myself.
At college I want to, for the first time in my life, find people who like the real me, not some facade I’ve created. I want the face I see in the mirror and the one I wear to class to be the same. Expressing myself without the constraints of “coolness” will make my self-exploration all the more satisfying.
I don’t know where college will lead, but I want to be proud of the man I become, and I know I won’t be if I continue masking who I really am to “fit in”. Who knows? Maybe, one day, Mr. Mushnik will rise again.
Featured Photo: Provided By Adam Koplik