Hi, I’m Bennie?

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Graphic Illustration by Sharlene Chen

So what do I say? What will I do? Who am I to be?

Bennie Chang

You’ve heard the importance of first impressions, right? That people decide in the first seven seconds if they like you or not. That changing an initial perception is extremely, extremely difficult.

So what do I say when someone asks me to introduce myself? Take one:

“Hi! I’m Bennie, and I go to Lynbrook High School. I am interested in the intersection between politics and journalism, and I am part of our school’s politics club, student government and school newspaper.”

I came up with a simple introduction early in high school. It was concise yet comprehensive, giving others a taste of my interests and a bit about what I liked to do. As years went on, the phrases flowed out of my mouth naturally. It was familiar, effortless.

But gradually, the words began to dry like autumn leaves, repetitive, brainless syllables. They demanded to be shared, demanded to represent me, demanded to be me. And it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I noticed that my time and energy began revolving around these passions, as I abandoned interests that didn’t make it on my glorified synopsis. I poured more time into researching politics, working in student government and reporting on community and school issues. Quite literally, they came to represent me and define my personality.

So when I committed to Georgetown, for the first time I began to reevaluate my introduction. Should I include more lighthearted interests? Hobbies I enjoy? The reflection helped me realize that I am more than my introduction and that an introduction is merely an introduction. While it highlights a few of my interests, it does not fully represent who I am as a person.

I have a big heart and a warm but oftentimes menacing personality. I love to pepper people with endless questions and rewind chill pop songs from my Spotify “hall of fame” playlist. Beaches are my go-to spot, and I cannot see my Miniature Schnauzer Chuck, Chuck Schumer, without grinning with excitement. This is a part of me. But I am even more.

So what do I say? What will I do? Who am I to be?

I want to remain the hardworking Bennie at times, yet simultaneously be the carefree and joyous person that I also cherish. As I graduate high school, I will carry on my reflection and walk into the future with the same determination. But I won’t just be a student who likes government and participates in political groups, student government and the school newspaper. I will embrace all of my interests and understand that they are worth as much as I am.