The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide


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Senior Reflections: Max Belyantsev

Humsa Tammera
Senior Editor-in-Chief Max Belyantsev shares his experiences throughout high school and student journalism.

Wow. Just wow.

This moment seemed so distant just a few months ago while I was in the midst of the grueling college application process. But here I am, writing this reflection at 1:00 p.m. on a Tuesday at Panera. No burden of applications, schoolwork, or any other pressing expectations. I can finally sleep in, without the gut-wrenching 6:30 a.m. alarm clock every weekday morning. 

Summer is here, and I’m so, so relieved. 

Reflecting on my experience at RM, I have a couple of things to say. Five things, to be exact. 

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First and foremost, I am so incredibly thankful (and relieved) that things worked out the way they did. My family and I put in a lot of work to get to this point. My parents immigrated from Russia to the U.S. nearly 30 years ago; had they not upended their lives in search of a better one here, well, let’s just say, I would be facing very, very different circumstances.

My loving parents also played a critical role in any and every success of my high school career. From getting good grades to applying for scholarships I didn’t really want (at first), they were there to support and guide me, not as prison wardens with batons, but as managers in show biz—they put everything in place so that the star does well. Now imagine playing that role every day for four long years, and your star is a teenager. Must’ve been fun, I bet. All jokes aside, they created the necessary and sufficient conditions that allowed me to thrive, and I cannot express enough how sincerely grateful I am for their sacrifices and diligence. They inspire me to never take anything for granted and to continue working hard in the name of love and family.

Second, I’ve learned to find humor in life’s paradoxes. In my experience, life is so paradoxical it’s almost comical. Two opposite statements are often true at once because it’s your perspective that makes the difference. I’ll bring the popular example of college admissions because I struggle to remember a day in 2023 when the topic of academics and colleges didn’t come up in conversation. I could argue that, for an ambitious guy with a thirst for knowledge, getting into an Ivy League school is the most important outcome of high school, and I would be right. I could also say that it doesn’t necessarily matter what college I attend, but rather, what I do there, the people I meet, and so on. Then, it would follow that getting into an Ivy League school wouldn’t matter at all, and I would be right in saying that, too.

Those two ideas seem contradictory, but when you really think about it, they couldn’t be more true when paired together. Getting into an Ivy League both matters an infinite amount and yet not at all. How is this possible? Because it depends on your perspective. The power of thought cannot be overstated; we can shape the reality around us by mere virtue of thought. And the more you play around with this idea, the more you come to realize, that whether you get into an Ivy or not doesn’t matter—it’s your perspective that does. It’s your outlook on the process, and on life, that will make all the difference. Sounds a bit rich coming from me, I know, but I hope you can excuse me for bringing this idea to your attention. I hope you’ll apply it to your life in whatever ways it may be helpful, or throw it away and never think about it again.

Third, my experience at RM has been… well, just that. I don’t think it would have been fair of me to expect more or less out of high school. I’ll share a few thoughts on this topic. I’m glad that the vast majority of my teachers over the years were good at their craft and willing to help out when I had questions. I’m glad I was able to make some good friends in high school. It’s surprising to think how friendships accelerate in your senior year, and how many people you have yet to meet after going to school with them for years. I am so thankful to have found a community and sense of purpose in the clubs that mean so much to me. DECA, The Tide, and Philosophy Club will always hold a special place in my heart. Homework can be annoying, but if you manage your time effectively, it’s very doable. One strategy I use when I need to lock in is to turn off my phone and leave it in another room before going back to work on my laptop or in my notebook. For me, this was effective.

I wasn’t a fan of the sociopolitical climate in the IB program at RM. It often felt very imbalanced, perhaps due to demographic factors such as age or other reasons far out of my control. I never felt that it was safe to express my true sentiment if it was counter to the mainstream and refrained from getting into such conversations, especially for the sake of the well-being of myself and the clubs I was responsible for. If you’re one of those people who feel similarly, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Just try your best not to insert yourself into conversations or friend groups that will come back to bite you. Always think three steps ahead.

Fourth, people care less about you than you think. Most people have enough to deal with in their own lives: their own problems, fears, and aspirations are far more important than your bad haircut. Nobody’s watching as closely as you think they are. That’s why you should make more bold moves in your life. Dance like nobody’s watching at homecoming, ask that girl out, go do something epic. To all the haters: it’s never that deep. You only get one shot, so don’t waste it.

Fifth, it’s surreal to find yourself on the other side of the uphill battle of high school, college applications, and everything else you might be going through. Not to say that all my worries have gone away, but I do feel more at peace. Work hard throughout high school, and like me, I am sure that you will look to your future with both excitement and a solemn understanding that what you do does, in fact, matter. You influence the world around you whether you like it or not; it’s up to you to make sure that your “aura,” your influence, your legacy, is a positive one.

Thank you for reading this far. I hope my reflection was, in some way, valuable to you. Now, it’s 2:26 p.m., and if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to get lunch. Take it easy, y’all. It was a wild ride.

Wow. Just wow.

~ Max Belyantsev
Editor-in-Chief, The Tide 2023-2024

If you would like to voice your opinion on an issue you feel is relevant to our community, please do so here. Anyone is able and welcome to submit a Letter to the Editor, regardless of journalistic experience or writing skills. Submissions may be published either online or in a print issue.

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About the Contributors
Max Belyantsev
Max Belyantsev, Editor-In-Chief
Max Belyantsev is a senior who's excited to serve The Tide as an Editor-in-Chief! This is Max's third year with The Tide after being an active contributor and Assistant Editor for the Opinions section. He enjoys collaborating with his talented peers and finding streamlined solutions to organizational challenges. As a writer, Max likes to share his views about what's going on in the tech world and in the RM community. Outside of school, his passions include table tennis, piano, bubble tea, driving, and chess.
Humsa Tammera
Humsa Tammera, Photo Editor
Humsa Tammera is a junior at Richard Montgomery High School. She is extremely excited to be a part of The Tide for another year! Before contributing as a Photo Editor, she was a Social Media Editor, and a Multimedia/TidePod contributor. In her spare time, she loves to practice and teach Taekwondo, watch shows, and go biking.