The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

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The Hawkeye May 2024
1st Amend Award School

Hope is on the horizon

Sitting down at my desk after getting home from school each day, I often immediately open up a tab, navigate to the school’s calendar and then search for the next school break. Mentally tracking how far I am away from the wonderful release from responsibilities that these breaks entail, I am then forced to reflect on the reality that lies right in front of me. I still have homework to complete, events to attend and occasionally a newspaper to publish.

For some moments, though, it is comforting to reflect on the prospect of a brighter future ahead. As humans, we’ve always sustained ourselves off of our hopes and aspirations for the future. Thus, it is natural to dream and hope for better times ahead, especially when going through periods that we would define as hardship. However, even in times when it would be much more pleasurable to think about the future instead of facing the present, we must be careful to stay in touch with the current day.

Whenever we think too far ahead or attempt to plan our lives in significant detail into the future, we are merely setting ourselves up for failure. As renowned Scottish poet Robert Burns so astutely described back in the eighteenth century, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry indeed.

Life, by definition, is filled with unpredictability, and thus each new day is filled with chances to defy anyone’s expectations completely. If we are rigid in our thinking and fail to account for the chaos that characterizes the real world and not the idyllic reality we create for ourselves in our heads, then we will end up miserable. Those who cannot adjust for the new circumstances that life throws out at a variable rate are unfortunately doomed to continually reflect on how their perfectly detailed plans left them with nothing but despair when they inevitably fell apart.

It is no secret that March is often the hardest month for those of us in public school communities. The month has the fewest number of days off of any during the school year, and this is on top of the fact that the workload for second semester classes is also likely at its highest point. As a result of this reality, people often get stuck in living in a manner in which their only motivation lies in the promise of coming school breaks and a release from the everyday struggles of an American high school student of the 21st century.

Of course, there are certain parts of the present moment that it may be best not to dwell on excessively. With broad threats such as spreading diseases and uncomfortably realities such as a crushing load of homework, it often seems that the only choice we have is to become lost in an endless sea of worry or shield ourselves by disconnecting from the present.

The fact is that, as individuals, worrying excessively about events outside of our control does far more harm than good. We may not be able to control what happens halfway across the world, but we can certainly control how we view life and the world that is directly in front of us.

Stress can be productive in certain situations, but the things that dominate our fears in modern society generally have no productive effect. If worrying helps you study harder for a test or gives you that final burst of energy to complete that big essay, then it is undoubtedly a welcome force. However, far too often, we direct our attention to the broader issues that we have no feasible way of solving.

Focusing on self-improvement and individual action is the best way to sustain ourselves through times of high anxiety and even hopelessness. You may not be able to put a stop to a global virus single-handedly, but you could encourage others to wash their hands and avoid touching their face as much as possible. While it may be impossible for any single person to control the pollution of the Earth’s oceans, you can help stop littering and responsibly dispose of waste products.

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While all of the dangers I have described so far are valid, a threat to our wellbeing is also presented if we grow to be complacent and shrug off the responsibilities that we do have to make the world a better place for everyone. By no means should you ever feel powerless to effect change in the world, and you certainly should never think that you cannot hope for a brighter future of your own making.

Aspirations, when somewhat grounded in reality, are a necessary component of human life. Without anything to aspire to or goals to strive for, human existence becomes a sad shell of its true potential. If you want to take full advantage of everything that the human condition has to offer, then you must go out into the world with a sense of purpose and a drive to do better for yourself and especially for the communities in which you find yourself.

All significant change to the world originates in the minds of people who are dedicated to making the world a better place, but nothing can be accomplished through someone working alone. Whether you are rallying for political change, working to improve a park in your local community or cleaning up a highway, it is imperative to unite with those around you to accomplish positive change wherever you may find yourself. If we can stand together, then we can be confident that there is hope on the horizon.

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About the Contributor
Nolan DeGarlais
Nolan DeGarlais, Editor-in-Chief
Editor-in-Chief Nolan DeGarlais is in his senior year of high school and is a fourth-year staff member of the Hawkeye. This year, Nolan hopes to lead the Hawkeye in coverage of all of the events that have the potential to impact the school community. Nolan also hopes to further develop the Hawkeye as an editor and a leader by helping other staff members to be successful in all aspects of journalism, including writing, graphics, photography and design. Under his leadership, Nolan hopes that the Hawkeye will continue to shine as one of the top student publications in the state and nation. In his free time, he enjoys reading, hiking, watching movies and spending time with friends.
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