Humans of Harker: Discovering the world

Tessa Muhle travels the world: exploring, writing and learning

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Sally Zhu

“It’s such a big world. Why don’t you want to learn everything about it? There’s so much in everything, and I just want to learn as much as I can for learning’s sake. There’s wonder and excitement at seeing all these new things in the world that I didn’t know about, and [I feel] really overjoyed that I get to learn about them,” Tessa Muhle (12) said. 

Think about all the places you’ve traveled to in your lifetime. Does that list include England and India, Spain and Belgium, Panama and Austria? Tessa Muhle’s (12) list certainly does, and it doesn’t stop there. Tessa’s life has been full of journeys across the world, her adventures forever increasing. 

From living in London for three and a half years to participating in multiple school trips through Harker, Tessa’s love for traveling started from her childhood, budding from her curiosity about the different cultures and types of people around the world. On each trip she takes, Tessa tries to learn and appreciate as much new information as possible about the countries she visits. 

“It’s such a big world. Why don’t you want to learn everything about it? There’s so much in everything, and I just want to learn as much as I can for learning’s sake,” Tessa said. “There’s wonder and excitement at seeing all these new things in the world that I didn’t know about, and [I feel] really overjoyed that I get to learn about them.”

Tessa’s inquisitiveness about the world extends beyond just visiting places. She also has an appreciation for language and linguistics: she took classes in German, Latin, Mandarin and Spanish in London and continued with her learning of Latin and Spanish at Harker. Upper school Spanish teacher, Diana Moss, who has taught Tessa’s Spanish classes for two years and traveled with her to Spain, noticed Tessa’s appreciation for culture and language. 

“[Tessa] was always the student I could call upon to hold those cultural and linguistic comparisons: looking at Latin, looking at Spanish, she just had this inquisitiveness about her,” Moss said. “She was somebody who really, really, really sincerely wanted to learn.”

Tessa’s travels have also influenced her writing and poetry. She often bases what she writes on photos she takes on her trips to foreign countries or lyrics in a song she hears on the radio. Tessa first started writing when she received a computer to type with at the age of 11 in London, and she has written from that day forward. Tessa writes many types of pieces, such as short poetry and world-building articles, essentially creating a new fantasy civilization with its own people, culture, geography, animals and government. Everything she writes is kept in an anonymous online blog as a record of all her work, and she often uses her writing to express and explore her emotions and thoughts. 

“You get to explore different perspectives, and you get to explore outlandish ideas, and the paper never judges you, or thinks that what you’re putting on is too ridiculous,” Tessa said. “[Writing] feels like you’re letting the floodgates open and you’re just letting yourself feel whatever you happen to be writing about without any judgement at all.” 

Tessa’s close friends have observed her multiple passions as well, along with her forever supportive and caring nature. Meha Goyal (12), who first met Tessa when she shadowed at Harker in ninth grade, has been close with her since the beginning of tenth grade. 

“Tessa has a really supportive personality,” Meha said. “We make a lot of jokes but we’re also serious and caring when she needs to be. She’s very dedicated and really passionate about a lot of the subjects that she takes part of and I really admire that about her. “

Tessa also made close friends when she joined the Random Acts of Kindness club during her first year at Harker. She’s now an officer of the club and is determined to carry out the club’s message in her daily life with her peers and teachers at school. 

“I thought it was a really great idea to make the school a better place and just make the community happier. So I kept doing [the Random Acts of Kindness club], and I think it’s a really important thing to show appreciation for people,” Tessa said. 

Her kindness and appreciation does not go unnoticed by the people around her, including her friend Claire Luo (12), a co-officer of the Random Acts of Kindness club who has been close with her since their sophomore year. 

“She’s just really trustworthy. I know that whenever I ask her anything, she’ll do it,” Claire said. “And I know that if I want to talk to anyone about something, she’ll be there for me, and I think that’s really incredible.”

There’s still so much of the world for Tessa to discover, and even a dozen countries to explore and write about is not enough to quench her curiosity and thirst for knowledge. And thankfully, she has a lifetime of travel and novelty ahead of her. 

“[Tessa is] somebody who’s going to go a long way with that exploration, so [I’d tell her to] keep exploring, keep traveling and discover the world,” Moss said.