On Persistence

On Persistence

Calvin Coolidge could not have said it better… And with that, “never, never, never give up” (thanks, Winston Churchill!).
–Sarah Naguib

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A Tribute to My School

My time in high school is really coming to end with every passing day. Less than a month until I walk down the red aisle, wearing a white dress and carrying a dozen red roses, saying goodbye to my beloved school of ten years. I want to spend this post talking about how much it has meant to me to be a student of Columbus School for Girls for the past ten years of my life. In all seriousness, I would not have been the person I am today had my wonderful parents not enrolled me in such an amazing school. So, to my teachers, friends, and staff members at CSG, here are some of the priceless things you’ve taught me over the last decade. 

Firstly, I’ve definitely learned how to believe in myself. I know this sounds incredibly cheesy, but it’s extremely true. Being in an all-girls environment, I have seen most of my teachers and administrators being women–and absolutely rocking at their various jobs and positions! You’ve taught me to believe in myself when I have an idea to share, and to not be afraid to share my idea with others–even if that means being the only one who thinks a certain way (which has definitely happened before!). You’ve taught me how to push myself in choosing classes and extracurriculars and how to embrace every part of me, even if I’m different than “normal.” You’ve shown me how to look my fears (like public speaking) straight in the eye and smile, because with lots of practice (and maybe even some tears), I can overcome anything that I put my mind to. And who would have ever guessed that I have a fear of public speaking now? My parents would actually say that I have the opposite problem–talking too much 🙂

And what about all those talks and motivational speakers about breaking out of your comfort zone in order to take a risk? I can say without a shadow of a doubt that even though I may not have expressed my appreciation on the first day of 6th grade when our Middle School director talked about “leaning into discomfort,” that talk has stuck in my head ever since then (and in a good way, too!). You’ve taught me that staying at the status quo is just not good enough. If I remain at the same place for too long, I’ll take advantage of what I’ve been given and eventually get really bored. Instead, by pushing myself to join a sport that I never thought I’d join (I went from ballet to martial arts, for goodness’s sake!), I really can find myself. I never thought in a million years that someone as small as I am would find as much enjoyment as I do in kicking a target with all my strength or punching through a block of wood. But, hey, you never know until you try, right? Even when it seems completely irrational at the time, sometimes, the unexpected things are the best things.

And you’ve taught me to never give up. Even when the situation seems to be the worst of the worst (like when I couldn’t travel with my classmates to the Caribbean and deliver laptops), things can always turn themselves around if you have hope and persistence. Had I given up in September 2010, I never would have found out my passion about educating kids all over the world, despite their seemingly impossible circumstances. I never would have thought of Laptops for Egypt. I never would have had all the opportunities that Laptops for Egypt has given me. My life would honestly have been a completely different story. 

So, CSG, thank you for everything. Thank you for teaching me all of the wonderful lessons I’ve learned over the past ten years (and still mastering, since I continue to make mistakes every day). Thank you for bringing some of the most amazing people in my life from my friends to my teachers. And thank you for fostering the best educational experience I could have asked for. You met all my expectations and more, and I have to admit that I actually enjoyed waking up every morning and going to school every day. I’ll certainly miss you next year, but that’s not to say that I’m not excited for my next four years at Kenyon College 🙂

Forever and always a unicorn, 

–Sarah Naguib

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People Will Be People

When someone does something that we don’t like to us, it’s our instinctual reaction to be upset about what happened and take out our anger on that person. You might react even more passionately should the circumstance destroy your plans for something that you’ve worked for long hours on or something that you care about with all your heart. But, in practical terms, what does getting upset do for us? Yes, it might allow us to channel our anger at a person rather than an abstract concept, which is often a way for us to feel better (at least temporarily speaking). Seriously, though, when someone breaks a promise they made to you, you’re inclined to be mad at that person and then pity yourself that someone did something as horrible as it may be to you. Here are a few tips I’ve gathered over my limited experience on how to deal with someone when he/she does something that totally ruins your plans and/or makes your blood boil. 

1. Realize that people will be people.

Think about it: even though you’re boiling and you’re irritated and you want nothing to do with this person, this person is a human being and humans are guaranteed to make mistakes in our lifetimes. No one is perfect and people are bound to break your heart or their promises at some point in your life. I’m not trying to brush off how irritated you might be, but seriously, it’s important for us to understand that we can’t set perfection as the standard for people we work with and deal with, because guess what? We, ourselves, are unable to make those standards and it would be unfair for us to set others to standards that we cannot meet. People will be people, which means that they are going to continue to make the same mistakes that we, as a group, have been making since the beginning of our existence. Which leads us to our next point…

2. Forgive and forget

As tempting as it is right now to pull up a new email message and type your true feelings toward this person in an angry/passionate/irritated/passive-aggressive manner, let’s just acknowledge that this is probably not the best way to handle these types of situations. It’s time to take a deep breath and realize that while you are feeling hurt and angry, now is not the time to talk to this person (or email them or text them or anything of the like). I’m not saying to completely cut off all ties with this person and pretend like he/she never existed, but it’s important to wait until you’ve properly cooled off before you start talking with this person. You’ll only get more irritated and blow up and it won’t be pretty. Once you’ve taken a deep breath, reconcile with yourself that, yes, you have been hurt, but it’s not going to do anything for you (or for the person with whom you are irritated) to wallow in your self pity for the next three months. Pick yourself up and forgive the person. Realize that they made a mistake. Even if that mistake may seem extremely malicious, like I said earlier, people are people. If you live your life naively enough to think that your heart will  never be broken or that you can trust everyone, then I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is certainly not the case. Forgive the person for what they did, and forget about it (in the sense that it hasn’t completely consumed your mind and your heart and all your time). And then, when you feel that the time is right…

3. Talk to the person and tell them how you feel 

For some people, talking about your feelings is extremely childish, although I’m not exactly sure why. If you’re like me, when someone has done something to upset me, I can’t just block the person out of my life–I need to get the satisfaction of talking with the person and working the situation out. Now, by talking to this person who has upset you, I cannot promise that a) it’s going to be easy or b) some resolution will be reached and you will be able to forget about everything that has happened and start over a clean slate. However, if at all possible, if you are able to talk to this person and tell them (politely and diplomatically, without overwhelming emotions) about how what he/she did has really upset you, I can guarantee that you have handled the situation in the most mature manner possible. From that point on, it’s up to the other person to react how they will. It’s not your problem anymore if you approach the conversation calmly yet assertively. Don’t be a doormat and let people walk all over you and your feelings without letting them know how you feel, but at the same time, don’t be a fire cracker and explode all over your subject. Finding that middle ground is the key to moving forward and preventing the same type of situation from happening again with this particular person.

And remember, we all deal with heartbreaks and broken promises. But on the same token, we have all been the one at fault, too. People will be people. 

–Sarah Naguib

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