Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about high school. How have I grown? How have I changed? What has stayed the same? It’s a time of deep reflection about how a period of four years can really change a person.

So to really play out this scenario, I had to reconstruct what Grade 9 Nick was really like. How he acted, what he liked to do, and what he wanted to do with his life. So consider this a fun “before and after” post, sort of like the fitness post where you see a really fat guy before and a 6-pack shredded monster after. Except in my case, I think the fat guy is still sort of there.

GRADE 9 NICK

Grade 9 Nick loved video games. He wasn’t particularly good at them, so he would always lock himself up in his room, play some Team Fortress 2 against bots, and kill the entire morning and afternoon trying to be a good sniper. In English class, he would run an emulator on his computer and pass boring lessons by playing Pokemon Emerald or Fire Emblem. Grade 12 Nick vividly remembers one time where Grade 9 Nick brought his computer to DECA Provincials and played Team Fortress in his room instead of talking to people or studying. The only reason that Grade 9 Nick did not start playing League of Legends was because it would have taken more than a day to download it, and his father was already annoyed that we had hit the monthly download limit with our internet provider.

MINI SENTRIES!! ROCKET JUMPING!! MEDICCC!!!

Grade 9 Nick was really scared of talking to and meeting new people. Mostly because he was terrible at it, awkward, and really appreciated the thought of staying home and reading instead of going out and talking to …people. Especially if they were girls. In front of them, the sweat would break out, the tongue would start tying itself, and the only words that could choke their way out of his mouth were “oh….cool”

Grade 9 Nick was really set on being an accountant or CFA. Even in Grade 9, Nick was a business nerd who would pass his time reading INvestopedia, playing virtual stock games, and pretending like he knew something about stocks and investments. During summer school, in his Careers project, he picked the Chartered Financial Analyst as his dream job. It was stable, prestigious, and parent approved, and perfect for a poorly designed infographic slapped together in Microsoft Publisher. Waterloo AFM and coop was the end goal.

Grade 9 Nick worshipped the “gods”. Those people in Grade 11 and 12 who just seemed to have everything so together. They were smart, knew what they were doing with their lives, and were role models that I wanted to be. Grade 9 Nick was blessed whenever they deigned to talk to them and respectfully silent whenever they happened to walk by him. Respect had to be shown in their presence.

Grade 9 Nick loved to read and learn new things. Since he didn’t really go out a lot, he had a lot of spare time to read a lot of interesting books. He fiddled with code in his spare time to entertain the dream of being one of those cool “coders”. For fun, he would go to the library and borrow a huge stack of DC and Marvel superhero comics, sit down, and read all of them in a day. Batman, Green Lantern, Spiderman, X-Men, and Wolverine comics were the best. Superman and Thor comics always got boring, because they were both overpowered gods who smashed their way through everything. Yawn.

Before the movie ruined everything for me, Green Lanterns were the coolest

GRADE 12 NICK

So after writing all of this out, I think it’s safe for me to say that a lot has changed, but I can see how the basic Grade 9 Nick really laid the foundation for the person I am today.

Grade 12 Nick still loves to play Pokemon, without shame. You can find him relaxing or destressing on Pokemon Showdown playing pokemon battles with randomly generated teams under the username “someguy123p0” (which he borrowed and took over from a friend). He gets real proud about his expertise and 1700 ELO. Occasionally, if it’s a real bad day, he’ll make a temporary account and go beat up the newbies near the 1000 ELO rank. Sometimes these guys don’t even understand the basic concept of momentum, sweeping, and super-effective moves. Amateurs.

Grade 12 Nick has gotten over his fear of meeting new people, mostly because he just threw himself out there and had a million awkward conversations with strangers. Of course, he still has the preference of being at home and reading a book than go to stupid networking and “meet new people” events. Networking events are the source of all evil.

Grade 12 Nick is still a complete business nerd. He follows Gary Vaynerchuk, continues to read up on investing and finance, and has deep conversations about personal branding and marketing strategies. On the other hand, Grade 12 Nick does not want to go and become a CA or CFA, because he wants to live the exciting life of being a marketer or entrepreneur. Part of this has to do with his constant struggle and lack of ability to sit still and stare at numbers for more than 5 minutes at a time.

Grade 12 Nick is still constantly blown away by the people who have so many accomplishments. Fortunately, he’s realized something that was unfathomable to his Grade 9 version. That even the most successful entrepreneur, writer, artist, CEO, or athlete is, at the end of the day, human. Which means that they all have their struggles, are usually willing to talk and have a good conversation, and are really not too different than you or me.

Grade 12 Nick continues to read too many books. You would think that they are all businessy and everything, but there’s always time to read some good comic books. Calvin and Hobbes, Old Man Logan, Lone Wolf and Cub, and really, any superhero comic. Comic books are timeless treasures that more people should read, a world of fantasy that is soooo much cooler than daily life. I constantly wish that I could shoot webs out of my hands. It would be a cool party trick.

Conclusion of the day? Grade 9 Nick would think Grade 12 Nick would be a real cool guy.

Grade 12 Nick should remember never to look down on Grade 9 Nick.

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