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.

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.