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Humans of Harker: Story unfinished

Lily Wancewicz spreads love of writing with the power of her words

%E2%80%9CAs+I%27ve+continued+to+do+things%2C+it%27s+kind+of+gotten+to+this+point+where+no+one+really+cares.+And+I+mean+that+in+a+very+positive+way.+No+one+cares+if+you+mess+this+up+and+no+one+cares+if+you+fall+down+and+no+one+cares+if+you+shave+your+head+and+no+one+cares+if+you+can%27t+swim+butterfly.+So+you+might+as+well+just+do+it+even+if+it%27s+embarrassing+for+you%2C+and+even+if+it+pushes+you+to+be+uncomfortable.+Just+because+something+doesn%E2%80%99t+feel+right%2C+and+just+because+something+isn%27t+your+gut+instinct%2C+doesn%27t+mean+you+shouldn%27t+do+it%2C%22+Lily+Wancewicz+%2812%29+said.
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Humans of Harker: Story unfinished

“As I've continued to do things, it's kind of gotten to this point where no one really cares. And I mean that in a very positive way. No one cares if you mess this up and no one cares if you fall down and no one cares if you shave your head and no one cares if you can't swim butterfly. So you might as well just do it even if it's embarrassing for you, and even if it pushes you to be uncomfortable. Just because something doesn’t feel right, and just because something isn't your gut instinct, doesn't mean you shouldn't do it,

“As I've continued to do things, it's kind of gotten to this point where no one really cares. And I mean that in a very positive way. No one cares if you mess this up and no one cares if you fall down and no one cares if you shave your head and no one cares if you can't swim butterfly. So you might as well just do it even if it's embarrassing for you, and even if it pushes you to be uncomfortable. Just because something doesn’t feel right, and just because something isn't your gut instinct, doesn't mean you shouldn't do it," Lily Wancewicz (12) said.

Saloni Shah

“As I've continued to do things, it's kind of gotten to this point where no one really cares. And I mean that in a very positive way. No one cares if you mess this up and no one cares if you fall down and no one cares if you shave your head and no one cares if you can't swim butterfly. So you might as well just do it even if it's embarrassing for you, and even if it pushes you to be uncomfortable. Just because something doesn’t feel right, and just because something isn't your gut instinct, doesn't mean you shouldn't do it," Lily Wancewicz (12) said.

Saloni Shah

Saloni Shah

“As I've continued to do things, it's kind of gotten to this point where no one really cares. And I mean that in a very positive way. No one cares if you mess this up and no one cares if you fall down and no one cares if you shave your head and no one cares if you can't swim butterfly. So you might as well just do it even if it's embarrassing for you, and even if it pushes you to be uncomfortable. Just because something doesn’t feel right, and just because something isn't your gut instinct, doesn't mean you shouldn't do it," Lily Wancewicz (12) said.

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Eagerly pulling out her phone, Lily Wancewicz (12) giggles as she beams at a picture of her senior portrait with her petite fluffy Calico kitten, Poppy. Walking through the library, her shoulders relaxing, Lily feels at home amongst the rows of books in the library shelves. As Lily charms those around her with her friendly and talkative personality, it is hard to imagine that she was once a quiet and withdrawn freshman.

Lily’s love for her cat and their deep bond has made them inseparable. Poppy is Lily’s destress mechanism, and she defines the moment that she and her parents brought Poppy home from the shelter as life-changing.

“While working on college apps or creative writing or journaling, she sits with me and she is so calm,” Lily said, with her eyes sparkling. “I love cats. She is the best.”

Aside from cats, Lily is passionate about writing. A gifted writer, Lily finds writing fun, enjoyable and therapeutic. Over the years, Lily’s Google Drive folder entitled “Creative Writing” has filled with thousands of snippets and pieces that range between 50 and 5,000 words in length. Her school notebooks also contain scribbles and doodles in the margins, some of which are later turned into stories.

Lily stumbled into writing during one of her Youtube black hole moments during her freshman year.

“I got to people reading their slam poetry, and I was like ‘Wow, that’s good. I like that,’” Lily said. “I liked the way they were using words and the fluidity of the piece they had written. I thought it was so beautiful. I was like ‘I really would like to try that and I think I can do it too.’”

Lily has won many distinguished awards in writing, such as being selected as a 2019 YoungArts Merit Finalist; further, she won the Young Authors Writing Contest award for 11th/12th division and many others, but true to her modest and humble character, she keeps her accomplishments closely guarded.

For the sheer joy of writing, Lily journals every day. Ideas for opening sentences come easy to her, but finishing a story is a challenge since she can never stop revising her work, even the one that won the Young Authors Writing Contest award.

“I never feel like I am finished. I think I edited that story like two days ago,” Lily said. “After I wrote it I was happy with it, but I thought it could still be better and I still think it can. It could be done, but I am not done done yet. I rarely write on any kind of agenda.”

Lily’s close friend Prameela Kottapalli (12) admires her ingenious skill and incredible ability as a writer to create stories from mundane subject matters.

“She is so good at putting you in those worlds with her characters, and she is very perceptive about people,” Prameela said. “She understands the little nuances and little intricacies of the personalities and that is able to translate so well into her writing and also makes her such a good friend and she is able to empathize with people so well.”

Both her cat and writing offer a sense of therapy for Lily and a reprieve from her stressful life; behind the image of the successful writer, Lily grew up facing anxiety challenges.

“When I was little, I was pretty fearless, I wanted to do everything,” Lily said. “I wanted to do skiing. I wanted to jump off things. I wasn’t ever scared of things as I easily am now. That just changed for me when I was about ten years old. I am now scared of movie theatres and getting necklaces tangled around me and choking in my sleep and crazy things like that.”

While anxiety is something Lily still struggles with, she is taking steps to open up to others and is very earnest in her discussion about the issue.

“It is not always how it has been, but it is how I am now. As I have gotten older, especially this last couple of years, I have tried to take a lot of steps to make that better,” Lily said. “So, I hope that the most notable thing about me is that I continue to push through things despite that.”

Initially, one of Lily’s main challenges was her inability to talk to people and seek help when needed. Lily’s sister, Molly, has been her rock through some of her most difficult times.

“Lily used to have a lot of trouble with communicating and opening up and asking for help. But I think as Lily has gotten older she learnt to manage what she can take care of on her own and what she needs to ask for help with,” Molly said. “So I am really impressed with how she has navigated life and learnt when to reach out.”

Talking about the discourse surrounding mental health is important to Lily, adding that she is not ashamed of her anxiety and believes that it does not define who she is as a person.

“Sometimes things that should probably not be that hard kind of end up seeming like a big deal to me,” Lily said. “It’s not something that I am ashamed of. I am lots of things besides that, but I also think that a big part of destigmatizing mental health is being open to talking about it. That’s not something that was always okay with me but it is now. Anxiety is not who I am, but it is a part of who I am.”

Lily would advise others facing similar challenges to do the same as she has and be easy on themselves.

“It’s okay to not be okay all the time,” Lily assured. “Sometimes, I am going to wake up and be like today is not [my day], and I would be more upset if I keep going. So I would go back to bed. Give yourself the time you need within reason. If today is not your day, then that’s okay.”

With her ability to stay unaffected by the intense pace of Harker student life and her gift to say the right things, Lily has formed some of her closest friendships by applying the empathy and insight she developed through her own experiences to her relationships.

“She just has a very calming presence to be around,” Prameela said. “Sometimes I over think things a lot, and she always kind of knows exactly what to say to help me put things into perspective.”

Lily’s friends, family, and teachers also value her for her sincerity and her personality as an individual.

“She is just a complete and total individual; she really doesn’t for the most part care what other people think very much,” Lily’s advisor Jane Keller said. “There is nothing frivolous about Lily. She puts a lot of thought into everything she does.”

Lily wants to be remembered for challenging herself to learn, grow and try new things.

“I hope that as I have grown older through high school, my friends can see that I am someone who tries not to let my fear of judgment or getting out of my comfort zone stop me from getting out of my comfort zone,” she said.

Moving forward, Lily will continue to be a trailblazer shaping her own path.

“As I’ve continued to do things, it’s kind of gotten to this point where no one really cares. And I mean that in a very positive way. No one cares if you mess this up and no one cares if you fall down and no one cares if you shave your head and no one cares if you can’t swim butterfly. So you might as well just do it even if it’s embarrassing for you, and even if it pushes you to be uncomfortable. Just because something doesn’t feel right, and just because something isn’t your gut instinct, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it,” Lily said.

1 Comment

One Response to “Humans of Harker: Story unfinished”

  1. Ed Dobbs on December 8th, 2018 8:31 am

    I don’t know Lily very well as we live 1500 miles apart . The few times that I have had the pleasure of her company has always been enjoyable but I never really knew her until I read this article. No Grand parent could be prouder of his Grandaughter than I am right now of mine. I love you Lily.

    Papa😘😘😘

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