Anna’s Answers: What’s YOUR Niche?

Anna writes in her third entry on how she feels about getting involved

More stories from Anna Schmidt

So writing for this blog has got me thinking about what I’m good at and where I’ve found my niches in high school, and I realized that it is a topic I am really passionate about. So I decided to go ahead and dedicate a post to it.

My freshman year I walked into Bishop Carroll wanting so badly to be known and to be important. I spotted several seniors and upperclassmen that appeared to have it all together, and I wanted to be just like them. They had their niches. They were good at sports, or at StuCo, or at band, or at whatever. I thought to myself that if I could just be like them, I would be happy. If I could find a visible skill or talent, I would have it all together. I would have my “thing” that I’m good at. I would have a category to fit into and I could finally feel like I was known and important.

 So I spent about three years trying to find my thing, and to have everything together. I tried to be the athlete and the good leader and the religious girl and the academic. I tried EVERYTHING. And I never really took the time to step back and realize that none of it was working. I hadn’t found my niche; I had just found a lot of other things that I was average at, and I was REALLY busy.

So one day I decided to change. Not like, “wow trying to be like everyone else is obviously bad for me,” but just kind of like, “this isn’t working…” I realized that I wasn’t ever laying down at night really feeling like I was on my path. I never really felt passionate or inspired or content with what I was doing, and I should probably do something about that because the goal that I was after was nowhere in sight. I had started this journey of trying a million things and over-involving myself because I wanted to have it all together. I didn’t have anything together though; I was now more lost than ever.

So I started to focus on the things that I was most passionate about. As I did this, I started to realize that not everyone has one visible niche. What I’m good at may not be something that everyone can see, like athletics or leadership or academics. It can be anything. And I don’t think that most high school students know that. I think that we get so lost in our appearances and categorizing ourselves, that we never realize that what we are good at might be something invisible to everyone else. 

Maybe your thing is that you like to draw in your notebook, and maybe you are really good at that. Or maybe you like to write stories, or go on long bike rides, or help other people, or hang out with your grandma, or read about politics, or anything else you can imagine. And maybe your niche isn’t something that will earn you a cool reputation or label, but maybe we weren’t made to be put into boxes. Maybe the point of existing isn’t to do one thing that everyone can see and approve of (gasp!). Maybe it is to find what makes us happy so that we can lay down at night and feel that we are on our path and that we are inspired and content. 

About a year ago I figured out that I am really good at writing. I am also really good at feeling. Like looking at situations and analyzing them and figuring out what they mean to me. That makes me feel good and it gives me a sense of purpose. When I take time out of my day to do those things, I can lay down at night and feel that I am on my path. No one can really see me do it, and no one can label me “a feeler,” because well, that’s just not a thing. It makes me feel good, though, and it gives my life meaning. I hope after reading this you can take a look at what that is to you. 

What is it that puts you on YOUR path? What makes you feel invigorated and inspired and worthy? I know you have it, we all do. Now go do it. Your life, and this world, will be a whole lot more complete once you do.