Seniors Speak: On Limits

Designed by Vaish Tetali ('20)

One of the sections included in the annual Senior Edition is a series of essays titled Seniors Speak. These works are written and submitted to The Acronym by members of the graduating class, allowing them to reflect on their experiences, share advice, and advocate for change. The writer of this piece is Aaron Rodrigues (CWRU ’24), who lived in 1504A for his senior year. He was the Publicity Director of SCC and the Programming Head of Titan Robotics.

At this very moment, ask yourself: What are my limits? What’s pushing me forward, and what’s holding me back?

These are fairly simple questions, with fairly introspective answers. We frequently use our limits to define who we are; our boundaries provide insight into our current capabilities. Whether intellectual, physical, or emotional, everyone has their respective limits. 

At the start of sophomore year, I was introduced to this “residential impossible triangle,” the idea that students here could only choose two options between sleep, good grades, and having a social life. It served as a reminder that our time each day was limited, that you couldn’t choose to do one thing without sacrificing time for another. But, why couldn’t I have all three? What was stopping me from proving this triangle wrong?

Needless to say, I was not successful in this endeavor. There was always something more to do, another assignment, another extracurricular, or another personal project to top it all off. An overwhelming workload was also certainly not unique to me—many members of this academy face this same optimization problem, and are constantly pushing themselves beyond what they believed was possible. As I would come to learn over the past 2.75 years, it’s the student body’s boundless passion and effort poured into clubs, projects, assignments, and events that make IMSA great.

But still, even with a seemingly endless grind marathon already ahead of me, I found myself asking, how can I do even more? How do I squeeze in even more commitments, and how do I make my current workload even more rigorous? How do I stretch, push, shatter my limits?

One bus ride coming back from SIR, someone posed an existential, albeit cliché question: what is the point of life? Back then, I argued that it was to pursue continuous growth, ceaselessly pushing one’s limits in the process. But in the two, tiresome months that followed, I learned just how wrong I was: by constantly working at full capacity, I didn’t spend enough time reflecting on what it was that I was doing and the extent at which I was learning.

That is not at all to say that I stopped growing. Those years of endless nights, arduous classes, and countless extracurriculars really do add up; they fundamentally change who you are. Today, I am not the same person I was nine months ago, and especially not the very sophomore who stepped into the bright, musty wing of 05C for the first time. I’m certain that members of our Class of 2020 share this sentiment, thousands of alumni really, of having shattered seemingly insurmountable limits on campus. 

IMSA is like a safe, secure playground. Take advantage of it. The “learning laboratory” that is this academy extends far beyond the classroom, and it’s only what you make of it. Take those chances. Add to that ever-growing todo list. Run for elections, enroll in challenging courses, participate in culture shows, and explore your passions–but above all, learn and grow from these experiences. Embrace it all, success and failure, and fight your limits with absolutely everything you’ve got.

Beat the impossible triangle, I believe in you.



Aaron Rodrigues

About the Author

Jodie Meng
Jodie was a three-year resident in 1506B who served as the Co-Editor-In-Chief along with Eva Tuecke for the 2019-2020 school year! Outside of The Acronym, she was active in LEAD, SIR, and other extracurriculars. She will be attending Stanford University for her undergraduate education.

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