Is it possible to look back at where you were this time of year last year, to see a completely different person?

This year, 2014, has been the end of an identity that has stayed relatively stagnant for the past four years. Is it that new environments which bring hidden parts of ourselves to light? How are we accept these changes, different identities?

This past day, I have forced myself to forget my to-do, which is always overflowing, to think about these questions that have been plaguing me lately.

2014 has been goodbyes, apologies for some mistakes that I have made over the last four years, final hugs in common rooms. The reality of endings is they’re always not as dramatic or bittersweet as you’d like them to be. They come quietly in the form of crossed out days approaching at an increasing rate towards null. And when the car drives away, hands pressed against windowpanes, a part of you escapes with the dried up tears on your cheeks.

And there’s always the question so impossible. “Will these be the best four years of my life?” Who can forget running through the hills of Salzburg, slow nights around the fireplace, unable to speak from the beauty of this world? We have been allowed to dream so much longer than many.

Mount Kilimanjaro was the symbol that marked our end. Within its glacier capped tips, the jungles, desert, and the final summit climb, we found the final strength as a class to pull us all through. I remember standing at the top, the sun’s rays upon my scratched, deathly pale face, eyes closed and head up to reach the sky. It seemed like i could touch the clouds. And looking down, I finally realize how far we’ve come. Nothing was ever going to be as hard as this.

This was the end of four years rushing up to examinations, tension, the same routine of travel. It had all become comfortable. But now what?

What I have realized is that if nothing is ever allowed to end, nothing is ever allowed to change.  By the end of high school, I realized that I’ve grown out of the role that I had cultivated coming in as a 12-year-old freshman who didn’t really know how to dress and only cared about academia. In college, I was able to reveal all the quirks of my personality; in that sense, college has been liberating.

But who are you, if that “you” is constantly changing? I came in to high school as a devoted creative writer, a passion that consumed so much of my spare time. By senior year, I was for sure going into the social entrepreneurship sphere with my organization. And in the past four months, I have fallen in love with technology. Going into my first computer science class, it was like I was seeing for the first time. The awe of being able to create things with words, seeing what goes behind creating a web browser or a search engine.

My struggle is in reconciliating these parts of myself so that I can be secure with who I am. Am I the dancer, the artist? The one so passionate about social change that she is starting a movement? Or am I the girl who wants to break into an industry she has completely fallen for, to be part of the cutting edge of future? We evolve, people evolve, and we have to accept the intricacies of ourselves to understand others. All the discrimination, wars, and difficult conversations are partly because we don’t realize this fact that people can be more than one label. And that label starts with the one you give to yourself.

Just before I end this post, a few quick thanks for the people who has made this year so incredible:

All of THINK Global School, staff, faculty, and students, especially my class (Charis, Pema, Bailey, Megan, Luisa, Beny, Anat, Alex, Liam, Jawed, Marky Mark, David, Gijs, Cameron), for ending this trip together. We started out as 15, and ended as 15 (albeit a few changes). You’ll forever be a part of me, and showed me that there is more than just books and numbers.


Jon and Jadayah for a hilarious summer exploring the entrepreneurial scene in the US and getting into debate.


Tania, Kimmy, Yangla, Ayesha, and Helga for making my 17th birthday the best one in my life (thanks for the red cup Y+H), and for always being the always supportive and funny group that you are.


And lastly, my Ailism and the newest additions, Jaleh, Fran, Ruth, Swechhya, Sav, and Al, and my team at Light Footsteps Dance who are doing such an incredible job expanding and implementing new ways to meet the needs of hospitalized youth. I am very much inspired to work with you.


And now the clock is ticking, the sounds of fireworks starting, the celebrities have just begun.

Cheers, 2014. It’s been a good year.


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