LYNNWOOD — Samantha “Sam” Phara, 17, is a senior at Meadowdale High School, where she has enjoyed learning about other cultures, art and music. Phara looks forward to what lies ahead, including exploring a career in architecture.
Question: What classes are you taking?
Answer: This year I’m involved with (college-level Advanced Placement) European history, AP literature, “Walking for Fitness” — because there’s a gym credit I need to take care of — calculus, and German. Next semester … I’ll be (an assistant) for the Chromebook support here at school.
Q: Do you have a favorite?
A: I really love AP European history. I just really like to study history and especially to learn about other cultures and like why we are the way we are right now. I find it really interesting. … The first class that really opened me up was AP world history. There was a semester of ninth-grade honors history that was kind of an introduction to that. But AP world history was where I really started to understand. Everything has more context. Everything makes more sense.
Like in U.S. history, we live in this country and I want to know why we are the way we are and why we’re so different. I have relatives in Thailand … and it’s interesting to see how different we are. And how even though we’re a young country, it’s interesting to see the context behind it and the connection to how I live my life today.
Q: Has that changed how you go about your own day-to-day high school life?
A: In my own personal life, I feel like I do now realize that my actions do have consequences, beyond my actual life itself. Like if I do something really big it could be affecting someone else’s life 200 years from now. Though it’s hard to think that far ahead of me, I just think it’s interesting we all have a chance to make a difference in this world just by living our lives. Learning from the past can affect our future.
Q: Are you involved in any clubs?
A: I’m involved in band here at school (playing trumpet) and I uniquely love music. I like the community.
I’m involved with Link Crew, which is a group made to help freshmen get accustomed to high school, because high school is kind of a scary place. This is my first year doing Link, and it really honestly changed my life. I haven’t always been good with people. Because of this opportunity I’ve been given — because you have to be selected — I realized that I have so much more potential as a person to help other people. It changed my view of high school, and my happiness went way up.
Q: What is next for you after high school?
A: My plan right now is to go to a four-year university, and I’ve submitted all my college applications. I’m in the process of making some big decisions. Kind of scared about it, but such is life.
Q: Do you have a field in mind?
A: Architecture. I’m not a very math-based person. But I just like design and art, so I think if I try hard enough I will be able to fit into that field.
Q: What other hobbies or interests do you have?
A: I love drawing and art. It’s just a nice feeling to realize I created something with my own creativity, meaning it’s probably something unique to me. It’s also the reason why I want to pursue architecture as a career.
Q: Do you have anyone you look up to, like a mentor or someone who has inspired you?
A: He’s a family friend of my parents. He’s like an uncle to me. I really look up to him because he gives me advice. He honestly knows that, right now in this time of living, it’s really hard — especially when you’re trying to figure out who you are, what you want to be and stuff like that, you just want to try everything — he reminds me, hey, you can be your own person and you don’t have to be swayed by other people to do something you don’t want to do.
Q: So how does it feel to be at this stage in life?
A: It feels really weird, especially in the last few months. I know I’ve emotionally grown a lot. I came into high school having really bad anxiety. I had depression and stuff like that. And it’s not gone yet. But this summer I went really out of my comfort zone to get involved with stuff — I got a job with my district, and I joined Link Crew. That really helped me expand my horizons and talk to people. If I never had that experience in the summer, I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today. So I’m really grateful, for me making myself really uncomfortable, even for a little bit, because it really truly did pay off.
Beyond that, as a high school senior, again this is the year of choices. So I’m a little overwhelmed, but I am truly hoping for the best because life goes on regardless of my actions, and I’m pretty positive I’ll be able to work things out.
Melissa Slager: firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3432.