Senior Talk - Daniel Shapiro


For those of you who don’t know me so well, I was born in San Antonio, Texas. When I was nine years old, my parents sat me and my sister down and said, “Kids, we’re moving.” My sister, who was in 6th grade and had all her friends in Texas, wasn’t too happy. I, who also had all my peers in my hometown, was the opposite. Instead of pouting and sulking like a regular 4th grader who was just told they were leaving everything they had known, I was excited and anxious to leave. I was ready for the opportunity to see new places and meet new people. I was ready for change.

This was the first example of the mindset I have had all throughout my life. I hate being in a rut, doing the same thing over and over again every day. I can’t do it. I have to always have something new to involve myself in. This may seem like fun, always finding different activities to enjoy, but in reality, it translates to a bad habit.

To prove my point, I will give a few anecdotal examples of this from my own life. In 7th grade, I joined the tennis team, played for two years, then stopped. I haven’t played tennis once since then. I would imagine I’m not so good anymore. I also learned a bit of coding. I got into Javascript, and later, TI basic, which is the program you can use on your calculator. Then I stopped, and all I know how to do now is write a program that lets you guess a number and it tells you if it's too high or too low, until you eventually get it right. Except when I try and write it, when I guess the first number, i get an error message and the program ends.

I also became very interesting in two things in particular, music and language. I learned piano and took lessons for three years, but now all I can do is play Great Balls of Fire - that song that Aharon Davidson was really good at. I took guitar lessons for two years, and all i can do is play a few songs with the chords in front of me... as long as there are no B flats.

Some of you know that last year I tried learning french. That didn’t work out so well, because by now all I can say is, “la garcon a mange une pomme,” which means, “the boy ate an apple.” I also learned sign language. Which is pretty cool, except I’ll probably never need to use except to secretly talk with my friends during class. During the summer, I wanted to learn some Russian because it is the language of my ancestors. I made it through the incredibly weird alphabet and learned one phrase. In my opinion it is really the only phrase you need to know, “Kactus Geyzesh,” which means, “How do you say?”

Anyway you all get the point I’m trying to make. I went through my life constantly trying new things and exploring new topics, but I never mastered any of them. I am a Jack-of-all-trades, or more accurately, but less flatteringly, a master-of-none. I know a very small amount of each of the things I learned and did, but I didn’t gain what I could have gained. My senior wisdom to you guys is, don’t be like me, always switching to a new activity when the old one became boring. Find something you love, in school or out of school, and don’t abandon it. Practice it, pursue it, and eventually, you will master it.



Ki Teitzei: Respect and Sensitivity
My Jewish Journey - Rabbi Ari Leubitz


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Wednesday, 18 July 2018