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Taking big dreams to big apple: Venkatraman trades suburban life for city of dreams

Senior+Sakshi+Venkatraman+reflects+on+her+time+at+CHS+and+her+feelings+about+leaving+for+college.+Photo+by+Amanda+Hair.+
Senior Sakshi Venkatraman reflects on her time at CHS and her feelings about leaving for college. Photo by Amanda Hair.

Senior Sakshi Venkatraman reflects on her time at CHS and her feelings about leaving for college. Photo by Amanda Hair.

Senior Sakshi Venkatraman reflects on her time at CHS and her feelings about leaving for college. Photo by Amanda Hair.

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I don’t know how to start this column. I have attempted four or five different intros and I can’t find a single one I am satisfied with. Because to me, beginning this article means ending my senior year. I don’t know if I’m ready for that.

 

For the past six months, I have been itching to start the next phase of my life. “I’m so ready for college” has been a phrase that I have uttered subconsciously at every setback or slight inconvenience. Escaping Coppell for New York City has been my dream since my freshman year of high school. It is finally coming true.

 

So why do I feel like everything is unfinished? Like there are so many loose ends I will never finish tying up. Like there is so much I’m not prepared to leave behind.

 

This year has been the best and worst year of my life. I have faced problems in my personal life that I would never have even imagined dealing with four years ago. I feel like high school has aged me decades. I fell off with friends that I thought would one day be my bridesmaids, but I gained new ones that have carried me through some of my lowest points. I got into my dream school, New York University, and will be attending this fall, but I’m leaving behind people and things I see every day and unconsciously depend on for comfort.

 

I depend on Sidekick. I found my passion earlier than most; journalism is something I will never get tired of no matter where I am or how long I have been doing it. During times of turbulence and change in my life, D115 has been somewhere I could go for stability and comfort. A place I feel needed and wanted. I’m leaving behind the people that helped me realize my love for this career that I have been committed to since the age of 15.

 

No matter how much I complain about it, I also depend on schoolwork and excelling in academics. The past few years of my life have been consumed with chasing academic success. My hard work has opened doors for me – I have grades and scores that have made my college admissions processes more comfortable.

 

However, after three and a half years of being my own harshest critic and biggest motivator, I am moving to another extremely competitive school in an extremely competitive city; I have no idea if I will be as successful there as I was at Coppell High School and that terrifies me.

 

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the past few weeks is how much I depend on Coppell. No, it’s not Los Angeles or New York City, and many of my peers are quick to point that out. We’ve been talking about leaving this town for as long as I remember. But the borders of Coppell have provided me with safety, comfort and relationships that I would not give up for the world. Leaving will mean giving up what I have spent 15 years building.

 

Another part of me, though, is already in New York. It has been that way for a long time. Coppell has given me a lot, but the Sakshi I have constructed here is a starting point for bigger and better things. I have learned to love who I am, but I’m excited to go somewhere where new people I meet don’t have any preconceived notions of who I am. I can truly start over with the opportunity to be the best version of myself.

 

If there is one thing the end of high school really means to me, it is a shift in focus to what is actually important in my life. “Senioritis”, for many, is viewed as giving up; for me, though, it has simply meant a shift of focus from schoolwork and constant competition to self-improvement and time with friends and family.

 

I have realized that I do have loose ends in Coppell; it’s because I’m not done here. No matter where I go, I have people in this city that will always bring me back. My mother and my sister are here in the house I have spent the last 10 years in; some of the best friends that I have ever had will still live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area; and the newsroom that I found myself in is here, too.
I’m ready for the next step, believe me. But I will always find my way back home.

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6 Comments

6 Responses to “Taking big dreams to big apple: Venkatraman trades suburban life for city of dreams”

  1. Priya Subramanyan on May 15th, 2017 10:31 pm

    Congratulations Sakshi – very proud of you

    [Reply]

  2. adviser on May 16th, 2017 8:32 am

    Proud of you, Sakshi. You have done so much for our program and will do even greater things in the future. Every student should read this at the start of their senior year. You said it perfectly – senior year should not be about giving up, but about the relationships with those closest to you and preparing yourself for the next stage of your life.

    Excellent column, Sak!

    [Reply]

    Sakshi Venkatraman Reply:

    Thank you so much Mr. Wofford! I can not express how much I appreciate being part of such an amazing staff these past three years.

    [Reply]

  3. Saira Haque on May 16th, 2017 1:47 pm

    Wow, amazing story, you are going to wonderful things up in New York.

    [Reply]

    Sakshi Venkatraman Reply:

    Thank you Saira!

    [Reply]

  4. Venky Venkatraman on May 18th, 2017 7:10 am

    Dear Sakshi,

    Just like you, I too have been pondering how to respond to your column.

    Little over 33 years ago, when I only slightly older than you are today, I too was venturing out to NY City – except I was traveling a much longer distance and into even more unknown territory – that is from Bombay, India.

    Now when I see you the verge of making that same trip, I cannot help but look back on your life and share a few thoughts and give you some advice (and as your father, I believe I have both a right and duty to do so).

    You always had a gift of the gab, talking fluently before you were 1 years old, commenting on my blog even while at elementary school (see http://venkyvenkatraman.com/about/) and even wanting to educate the public when you were a little kid (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkUMpvzEwB0).

    And so it is but a natural progression that you would want to be a journalist after you gave up on your original dream of becoming an actress!

    I have no doubt you have the talent so succeed in this field – but you need to keep some cardinal rules in mind:

    1. Be truthful in your writings – when you are trying to make a point, there is a temptation to bend the truth (like when you claimed in an article several years ago ghat you were rejected by your father due to your pursuit of acting) – if you are seen as biased in one direction or another, people will not take you seriously

    2. Avoid slanting the information – you can do that by acts of both omission and commission (like when you say in your article “in the house I have spent the last 10 years”, the more accurate statement would be “in one of the houses ….”)

    3. Be knowledgeable about the topic on which you report (like when you write “Islam is a religion of peace” or make some such assertion, you should have enough material to be able to effectively defend that statement)

    4. Finally, be courageous – when writing about controversial topics, you are bound to upset some faction or the other – do not get intimidated and back away (remember when you posted an excellent video on YouTube when you were a kid and got pressured into taking it down?) – and if you have followed points 1, 2 and 3 above, you can fearlessly tell your story.

    Keep these rules in mind and you will go far – and one day, I expect to read your columns in prestigious newspapers like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and even see you on international news channels like CNN and Fox News.

    Best wishes – and God speed!

    Venky

    [Reply]

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Taking big dreams to big apple: Venkatraman trades suburban life for city of dreams