Senior Spotlight: Swera Aneja


Photo taken by Swera Aneja

Swera Aneja is a senior at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School. She participates in the marching band, concert band, wind ensemble, women’s choir, show choir, and concert choir. She is also in the American Cancer Society as well as Key club. She was born on December 16, 2002, making her currently 18 years old. She is a raving Harry Potter fan and loves artists like Alessia Cara, Shawn Mendes, Khalid, and Brockhampton. I sat down with Swera and asked her some questions about her high school experience and how she changed within these four years.

What do you define as a successful person? 

If you’re happy and content with what you’re doing and confident in yourself, confident in what you’re doing, and know that what you’re doing is fulfilling to you, and what you want for your future and your life in general, I think that is the definition of a successful person. If you’re happy, no one can tell you you’re not a successful person.

Who is your biggest influence in life? Who influenced it the most?

My family or more so my dad, he works really hard every day. Since he is a construction worker, he works no matter what the weather condition is, every day for really strenuous hours and since he has to commute to New York, I think that’s really difficult for him to do. I really look up to him for that [always working] because he comes home with a smile on his face and he’s just relentlessly kind, caring, and patient with all of us, and that’s more than I can ever ask for in a dad.

What makes you your happiest self?

I think just being with friends and family especially my cousins. Surrounding myself with those people who know me, and know who I am, and who I am able to be comfortable around and express myself the way I want, definitely makes me really happy. Being able to laugh with them about the little stupidest things and having fun whenever we can, even if it’s not the best situation. 

What is something you are very passionate about?

Definitely dance, I took dance back in middle school with a studio I used to go to. It was kind of the same thing every year and wasn’t as progressive or challenging and I felt like I was losing interest almost but in reality, I was just not having as much fun or learning as much as I could at that studio. I kind of got back into dance in high school and ever since then I’ve been really passionate about learning choreography and having fun with it. 

Obviously, our senior year was taken from us, but what did you think was going to be different and what were your emotions throughout the year?

This year is definitely not what I would have wanted it to be because of covid, I think it was upsetting and trying to come to terms with the fact that the last year you have with the people you’ve been [with] for so long and that environment you’ve always had and not being able to have the final year was upsetting. I would have wanted the whole marching band experience, for example, we had barely any practices and didn’t have any away football games or competitions. The last experience I wanted for my senior year wasn’t that good, so I think being home all the time and quarantined is just upsetting because I didn’t get to share the last experience I wanted with my friends. 

Overall how were your four years of high school? Did it meet any expectations you had first going in as a freshman or were they not met at all?

Definitely not what I expected when I first came in, but overall I guess it was okay, that’s the only way I could accurately describe my four years, like an average high school experience.

I didn’t really have any expectations going into high school, listening to what other people said about how it could possibly be the best four years of your life or it could just be another four years of your life that you’re trying to get through, and I think that was the majority of high school, was just me trying to get through but there were fun experiences for sure.

What about you do you think changed about you from freshman year to now?

I had a lot of expectations for myself which wasn’t a bad thing, but some of these expectations were really unrealistic, and I made it hard on myself, and would focus on every detail, and over the years I learned that it was ok to make mistakes and grow as a person as well as change however I wanted and not let anyone dictate that. Compared to freshman year and now I would say that I became a more independent, confident person. 

In all four years, what is the proudest moment you ever had? 

Becoming women’s choir president, because the choir was a huge unexpected part of my life, and didn’t expect to become president, so when it happened, I was like this is not something I would have dreamed of when I first joined freshman year. 

If you had the chance to redo your 4 years of high school, would you? And what would you do differently? 

I always have had the motto of “I don’t want to regret anything” but if I had the opportunity I would [change some things]. Throughout your four years, you learn a lot and people will always tell you that you’re going to have these lessons to learn. What I would do differently is not pay attention to what other people expected of me, and to work harder than I did these past 3 years and just make the most of what I knew I could do and not waste the potential I had. 

What are your plans for after high school?

For right now I apply to 6-year Pharmacy programs that do grad and undergrad in the same program, and if I don’t make it into those programs, or don’t choose them, I’m going to go into college as a regular chemistry major for undergrad, and for grad, I’d pursue pharmacy.

Do you feel like high school has prepared you for college and experience new things?

In all honesty, not really. I think high school let me figure out what I wanted to do in the future and prepared me for having to work towards what I want. But in the sense of preparing me just to be an adult and just get through college, I’d just say high school was not up to par with what I would have wanted to better prepare me for my future. At the same time, there were some aspects that let me grow independence to know where to branch off after high school.

What is the one thing you’ll miss most about high school?

The marching band and football games, some nights were really exhausting, but some nights were the most fun I’ve ever had, especially last year, junior year football games were really fun.

What is your favorite childhood memory that you keep close with you?

When I was younger, we went to California for a vacation and my uncle took us on a mini road trip around Cali and I was with my cousins and we would just drive around, and every day we would stop at a different hotel every night. We would also go to these beaches every day to watch the sunrise and just hang out. That’s one of my favorite memories from my childhood.

Do you have any advice for your younger/freshman year self?

Go for everything! Don’t hesitate because you don’t feel confident. Insecurities and not feeling confident is normal, and it happens, but don’t let it hold you back from what you want to do. Try out for things, have fun, and just genuinely go for what you’re passionate about, and don’t let anything hold you back from that.