The Hidden Beauty of Trying New Things


By Cheska Orias

Letting fear take control of your life can greatly hinder your growth and development, potentially causing you to miss out on achieving your greatest capability.

Dominic Niyo, assistant editor

Principal Ron Okamura started this school year with an impassioned and motivational speech during the Welcome Back Assembly, inspiring both new and returning students of McKinley High School to always strive for the best.

“This is a journey for you all. Everybody starts as a freshman, and everybody ends as a senior,” Okamura said. “While we may have different goals, I know you can accomplish them if you put your mind to it.”

In his speech, Okamura said that while he wants his students to be academically proficient, he also encourages them to embrace new experiences. 

“High school is just as fun as you make it to be. Become active, become involved in clubs and organizations, and make the best years of your high school life,” Okamura said. “Trust me, if you miss out on these opportunities, you might find yourself in a sad and lonesome place.”

With summer vacation and a new school year ahead, now is a good time to be reminded of his advice. Embracing new experiences can often feel intimidating, and setbacks may occur once in a while. However, it’s important to bear in mind that even if you do make a mistake, every misstep provides an opportunity for you to learn from them, bringing you closer to your wildest dreams.

Serena Ratonel, c/o 2023, the president of the Band program and an Ignition mentor, said she used Okamura’s speech every year as an inspiration to overcome fear and achieve her dreams. As she approached the end of her high school years, she recalls her experiences as both incredibly rewarding and enjoyable, emphasizing the importance of stepping out of one’s comfort zone and taking risks. In just a few days, she will step onto the oval and begin the next chapter of her life. 

“Facing your fears can sometimes teach you the most,” Ratonel said. “It’s through these situations where you can discover our greatest strengths.”

A 2019 study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence found that teenagers who engage in more diverse activities have higher levels of self-esteem and life satisfaction, even after comparing gender, age, and socio-economic status. The study surveyed over 1,000 adolescents and asked them about their participation in various activities, such as sports, music, clubs, and volunteering.

As a freshman who had no experience in the journalism profession, I can vividly recall the overwhelming feeling of stepping into my Newswriting class, The Pinion, last August. The attention to detail required in every aspect as well as of the work left me feeling intimidated and uncertain. But due to limited availability and scheduling conflicts with other electives, I had no choice but to stick with it.  

Throughout the year, I persevered through the initial discomfort of learning a new skill and found unexpected beauty in the experience. Despite my initial doubts, The Pinion allowed me to develop leadership and teamwork skills, work with professional journalists, interview a diverse range of individuals, write stories that revolve around the school community, and even speak with state representatives. 

As the end of the school year draws close, I’ve come to realize that my fear of change and doubt in my capabilities held me back in the past. However, when I stepped out of my comfort zone, I was able to overcome these fears and develop skills that will serve me well in the future. 

While I do not plan to pursue a career in journalism, I am still very much grateful that I had the opportunity to try something new. My experience with The Pinion has helped me understand who and what I aspire to be.

The unknown and the possibility of great change can be quite frightening, but it is necessary for growth and development. Trying new activities provides windows of opportunities to explore our interests, develop new skills, and build social connections. 

“Comfort zones may feel safe, but they’re also limiting. True growth and progress can only be achieved by pushing yourself beyond what you thought was possible,” Ratonel said. “Don’t be afraid to start an incredible journey.”

Trying new things doesn’t have to be as complicated as writing an editorial for the school’s newspaper, it could be as simple as trying food from another culture or pursuing a new hobby you’ve always expressed interest in. McKinley High School offers countless opportunities to discover our interests, such as our diverse selection of welcoming clubs and academies waiting to be unraveled. By choosing to engage in these extracurricular activities, you are illuminating yourself with new experiences that can make the last years of your childhood memorable.

So go out there, try a sport, play an instrument, learn a new language, join The Pinion, participate in school events, and make the last years of your youth as enjoyable as possible. Now is the best time to discover where your love and passion lie, so don’t waste it.