Individual talents supplement whole
Writer Richard Lopez, '11, will attend Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, in the fall, majoring in Physics.
I have known that I have had to write this column for at least a month. I have kept putting it off because I know how difficult it is for me to write. Now I sit in my bedroom, forcing myself to type my thoughts about my high school experience into coherent sentences, when I wish I could just solve a complex math equation or perform a monologue in front of hundreds of people instead.
How bizarre. What makes my stomach turn and keeps me in constant stress fills others with joy that I could never understand. For that matter, what I absolutely love makes others feel dread and despair. Why do I enjoy math and science, while other people hate them so much?
I remember when I first realized I loved to do math. I was in first grade and I just learned the concept of long division. I thought I had mastered the last great monster of math. I had learned addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. I thought to myself, "There can't be anything else." I was wrong.
As I got older, the world of math opened up. I loved it. From algebraic expressions to partial derivatives, every step of the way has kept me enthralled in the wonders and mysteries of math.
My list of interests goes far beyond math, however. I love to perform on stage and hear the applause in the crowd. I like to learn. I never seem to be able to put down a good book or pass up an opportunity to hang out with friends.
A lot of the people I know seem to have this fascination with writing. I see them get excited about writing a new article and seeing their work published. I joined journalism to hopefully understand this mystery.
I went into the class this past year to see why people love writing as much as they do. I convinced myself there was really something fascinating about the art of writing -- either that, or there was some mysterious cult that brainwashed their victims into liking writing. Either way, I wanted to understand the mystery.
After one week in the class, I was already stressed. I was used to writing about four papers a semester in English; there would be no way I could write 10 articles a semester. As I frantically tried to get quotes, finish articles and create insightful and interesting pieces for people to read, I missed the point of why I joined the class. I wanted to see why it was interesting.
As the year progressed, I began to understand. As I saw my articles go up and other people comment on them, I realized the value of being able to write down my thoughts.
"I am glad that there are others who like to write. If everyone loved math as much as I did, the world would be missing out on the great journalists, authors, poets and artists that have helped to shape humanity." --Richard Lopez, '11
I still do not feel called to write for a living. I know that I will continue to get involved in student journalism as I get older, but it is not my passion. As I have grown this past year especially, 1 Corinthians 12 has stood out to me to help me understand why I am so different from others.
Verses 17-19 (NIV), in particular, express my ideas about individual interests: "If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be?"
Everyone has their talents and their strengths. What I find fascinating, others find dull. What I hate, others love. Though I may never fully know why people love to write so much, I respect their achievements.
The main thing I have taken from my experiences this year -- whether they be in journalism, Academic Decathlon, Planeteers Club, drama, or anything else -- is that every person has their own interests that help to create a unified and strong whole.
I am glad that there are others who like to write. If everyone loved math as much as I did, the world would be missing out on the great journalists, authors, poets and artists that have helped to shape humanity.
I also appreciate my gifts. Though I may never understand why, I am a math geek, and I like it that way.
Lopez will attend Harvard University in the fall, majoring in Physics.
For more senior reflections, read the May 23 column, Accept life's unexpected adjustments.