Being Noah Tesfaye #9: 2017 — The Year of Self-Exploration and Self-Realization

Noah Tesfaye
7 min readDec 31, 2017
First day in New York this past summer

I didn’t know what 2017 would really become on January 1st. This year was by far the most challenging and one of the most difficult years of my life. Sure, school this year was difficult taking a ton of honors/AP classes, but it wasn’t what was truly challenging for me in life. The hardest part about 2017 was that I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know who Noah Tesfaye, the Ethiopian/African American high school student from the Bay Area, was. I would talk incessantly about certain issues in politics following our presidential election, yet I did not have a factual and logic-based reasoning into why I believed in what I believed. I followed blindly the rhetoric that has surrounded my life and rarely ever sought to develop my own unique opinions on how the world works, and in many ways, failed to develop my own self-identity.

Starting 2017, I didn’t know where I would end up in December. So I just decided to become more educated. And I don’t just mean taking my education more seriously, but I mean to educate myself in topics that truly interest me rather than wasting time, pondering how depressing my current situation may have been. The first step I took towards that goal was trying to find some sort of summer program to fulfill my love for learning. That was the Columbia University Constitutional Law summer program that I wrote about a month ago here. I learned through those three weeks that I can work diligently for hours on end learning about subjects that I am passionate about. Learning for the first time in my life was absolute fun. All the work I was putting in felt as though I was progressing towards a better understanding of who I was. And sure, that was based on the class I was taking, but it was primarily because of the candid discussions I had with my peers and most importantly friends. They were able to challenge my way of thinking in hopes of not only sharing why their opinions matter, but did so in a way that helped me learn to form my own opinion. They helped me begin to find my identity and for that I will always be forever grateful.

Following my newfound interest in Constitutional Law and friends, I went to Ethiopia at first only for a vacation. However what I ended up finding on this journey was much more. I discovered the roots of my family. I…

Noah Tesfaye

Just someone trying to share my story and find who I am, one post at a time