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Purbalite seniors evaluate their fours years of high school at Baldwin .

Senior Farewell: High school let me create my own narrative

I spent a lot of time in my home countries of India and Nepal watching movies centered around American high schools. Naturally, I came to this country with wide-eyed excitement about school, all fueled by what I had consumed through media.

Reality differed from the movies, and I realized this as soon as I started attending middle school. By the time I was ready for high school, I was not expecting it to be perfect. I knew there would not be any random synchronized choreographies breaking out in the cafeteria anytime soon. However, I also was not expecting it to be so difficult.

I am someone who enjoys romanticizing life as much as possible. All of that fell apart sophomore year. I was at the lowest point I had ever been mentally, and the pandemic was not helping at all. This started to be reflected in my grades as well. It was quite honestly the worst year of my life. Accepting any kind of help was also complicated: Mental health is not something that is commonly talked about in my culture, after all. Even now, it is still a taboo topic.

I always loved the movie characters who seemed so bright and positive no matter what life – or the plot – threw at them. That is who I wanted to be even during that difficult year, but it was not who I was.

I always loved the movie characters who seemed so bright and positive no matter what life – or the plot – threw at them.

— Khushila Dulal

However, this experience made me realize something very important: People are not meant to be perfectly scripted characters with no flaws whatsoever. It is acceptable and encouraged to reach out for help when needed. 

Throughout my four years here, I learned to embrace the imperfections of reality. This included my imperfections as well. I know now that no one can be perfect and that is absolutely fine. 

Not everything was a complete letdown of course. There were many special moments that did manage to reflect the charm of a coming-of-age movie, like small hangouts with friends, getting ready together and sharing clothes and makeup, taking pictures together while the sun was setting, and watching the sunrise together. Looking back, all of it feels straight out of a movie. 

There are so many memories I will take with me forever, as well as connections I hope last for the rest of my life. While my high school experience did not always resemble a movie, at least the experience was uniquely mine. 

I had the freedom to create my own narrative without the limitations of a cliched plotline. It really is difficult to say goodbye to this period of life and all of the people I have known for so long, but I hope the best for all of us in the future.

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