The theme of my sophomore year


I unknowingly came to discover a significant amount of repetition that has snuck itself into multiple aspects of my sophomore-year life. This repetition involves a theme that has become central to my life, and this theme has accompanied me this year through unrelated, different things such as dance and school projects.

I did not realize the existence of this theme until a recent Honors English 10 class. However, the first time I can recall this theme’s presence appearing is during the summer when my solo choreographer Jazzae asked me to choose a song for my solo. After meticulously searching countless albums, songs, and covers on YouTube for almost two weeks, I encountered the song “Waves” by Dean Lewis. Lyrics featured in the song include:

“It comes and goes in waves.

It always does, oh, it always does.”

I interpret the song to be about the idea that happiness, like the water in the ocean, comes in waves. I believe that the song describes that happiness and sadness are both present in a healthy, normal life and that neither is permanent. The concept of appreciating a feeling that is usually portrayed negatively in a positive light is something I deemed necessary for myself to work on this year. Through doing that, I am able to provide authentic emotion while performing the piece—which is vitally important in dance.  

Realizing the existence of this theme would not have happened without the student from a different hour presenting a Ted Talk involving perception and oblivion to the surroundings a few weeks ago. His Ted Talk inspired Mr. George to switch each of his classes’ seats and purposely rearrange students so that each student would be seated in a different part of the room than they previously were.

In the same room at the beginning of the year, Mr. George brought his students’ attention to the wall of his room that was completely covered in blank, white papers. He encouraged us to write a quote we encountered in the book we were reading up on the wall if it was interesting, intriguing, or caused us to ponder life. While reading The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, I chose to write this quote on the wall:

Maybe happiness didn’t have to be about the big, sweeping circumstances, about having everything in your life in place.”

I found myself again interacting with an opinion involving the presence of happiness in life. Tibby, the character in the book who provides the quote, expresses her point of view that a perfect circumstance is not the sole thing that brings happiness into life. I deemed this quote appropriate to place on the wall because I felt that with the pressures associated in teenagers’ lives; it was a thoughtful reminder that their entire life plan did not have to be set at the age of sixteen.

For my Ted Talk, I decided to incorporate another opinion involving the presence of happiness in life: constant happiness is not necessary. I have had to establish three separate lives and have been stripped of two, and the process of establishing lives and being accepted at new schools and dance studios is extremely challenging. Losing myself and my passions along the way did occur; therefore, my Ted Talk was basically a reflection of the lessons I gained through such intense experiences with sadness.

Maybe happiness didn’t have to be about the big, sweeping circumstances, about having everything in your life in place.”

Through dancing to my solo song, the quote from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and my Ted Talk, I have grasped what happiness and sadness truly mean to me, and the theme of my sophomore year has been defining what they each truly mean. I have concluded that happiness cannot fully be appreciated without sadness and that each is a necessity in life. I now choose to embrace sadness instead of pushing it away, and I reflect more often about what each experience with sadness has to teach me. Likewise, I now fully appreciate happiness when it is present.

I will never stop learning from what experiences with happiness and sadness have to teach me. I maintain faith in my belief that everything happens for a reason, and I am thankful that I have taken the opportunities to grow through both fortunate and unfortunate situations.

Both happiness and sadness are never permanent.