Senior Spotlight: Naomi Orcel

Senior Spotlight: Naomi Orcel

Rania Amallah, Opinions Editor

As the year comes to an end, many seniors are reflecting on their high school experience. One Senior, who has been a source of motivation and influence for many, leaves the year with a bittersweet goodbye along with some helpful advice for both rising seniors and incoming freshmen. Naomi Orcel has been at South for all 4 years and dedicated her time to a myriad of things including being on the soccer team, Math Team, and Science Olympiad, as well as maintaining difficult academics. I decided to interview her in hopes of understanding how she managed it all and getting a glimpse into her high school experience as someone who my friends and I look up to and see as ainspiration. 

If there was one consistent theme throughout my interview with Naomi, it was identity. Many of us often struggle to really find who we are and what we’re really passionate about. But rather than dwelling on the person we wish to be and what we’re possibly going to do in the future, she emphasizes the importance of living in the moment. Simply being yourself as well as being proud of who you are and what you’ve become. “Be amazingly you and unapologetic-ally you, because that’s how you’re gonna make your closest friends, your lifelong friends” she said. 

This mindset towards personal identity was also emphasized when Naomi gave her advice for college applications. Applications, primarily college essays, are often approached with many of us possessing a predisposed image of how we want to be perceived by colleges, but this often strays us away from the true purpose of applications in the first place–to get an image of who you are. She mentioned that her mentality when applying for colleges was “If I’m going to be accepted or rejected by a college, I want them to do it based on who I am and not what I told them I am…don’t be afraid to be you.” Colleges want to understand more about you than simple academics, so along with being prepared and knowing important deadlines, she emphasized that focusing on showcasing who you are is essential. 

A huge part of who you are in high school is your passions: clubs, activities, and sports. When it comes to managing workload and responsibilities, Naomi found that by doing things she enjoyed and was passionate about, things often fell into place. “Yes. I admit there are a lot of responsibilities I have that do stress me out, but I think it’s only because I care so much about them and that I make them so important to me.” Sometimes those passions come unexpectedly and can often bloom from impulsive decisions or sudden interest. For Naomi, that newfound passion was soccer. 

Remembering the moment she and her friend decided to join, she recalled “You know what, why not. Let’s just go to soccer. And then it actually became one of my passions. I made a lot of memories.” You’re not always going to know what you might like or what your new passions may be, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and experiment. Make friends, try out new sports and clubs, but most importantly–live in the moment. 

Throughout her high school career, Naomi found the most memorable and cherished moments to be the small, simple ones–primarily the experiences she had with classmates and friends. “There are plenty of little moments. There was when we sang Christmas Carols in Rossi’s room. There was of course all the days where we forget there’s an assignment due…[then] we have this chain reaction” she said. The moments that you have with teachers, close friends, and classmates are going to be the ones that stick with you the most. So don’t hesitate to put yourself out there and live out those experiences. 

If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this article, it’s that the relationships that you make with the people around you are the ones that are going to be most impactful and helpful. Whether it’s with teachers or friends, having support and knowing where to go for help will be most important. Naomi revealed, “Making friends with your teachers is always my goto advice for anybody who asks me for advice.”

I haven’t known Naomi for long, but her dedication to the things she does and commitment to helping those around her will stick with me. She will be attending Yale University next fall and will be majoring in Earth & Planetary Science and Astronomy. We wish you the best of luck Naomi, for all future endeavors. 

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