Senior Spotlight: Reynolds is starting to transition to his post-high school frame of mind
He didn’t come to Nevada until his sophomore year of high school, but Nathan Reynolds has made the most of his educational career, both at Nevada High School and before he came here.
Now in his senior year, Reynolds, the son of Kim and Ray Reynolds of Nevada, said he is taking all the hard work of getting good grades throughout his school years and combining that with a mindset of transitioning out of high school. “I want to make sure I can manage everything I’m doing, as well as get prepared for being in the real world,” Reynolds said.
He’s become a Junior Rotarian this year, as one way to interact with people who are out of school and in that “real world.” He’s also trying to change from his main philosophy of “working toward a grade,” to “working on self improvement. I realize that I need to not just get good grades, but also strive to challenge myself and work toward achieving my goals in the future.”
In a big way, Reynolds takes after his father, Nevada’s fire chief. “I like helping and protecting people and doing that in a personal way,” he said. “I’d rather help someone decide what they should do in a situation, rather than (work on) some blanket idea like ending world hunger, if that makes sense. I like to make sure people are safe.”
To better understand people, Reynolds plans to get a bachelor’s degree in psychology. “I think that by doing so I’d be able to better help people. I also plan to potentially get into the criminal justice system as either a part of law enforcement or as a lawyer, so I’d be able to protect people from the wrongdoing of others.”
Reynolds said his plan, at this point in time, is to go to college and afterward become a therapist, lawyer or FBI profiler. Psychology will fit into the dynamics of all three options. “Trying to understand the behaviors and motives of others has become sort of a hobby for me, which is why I think being a therapist or FBI profiler are my two most likely careers.” But, he said, “I can also argue with evidence very well,” so that keeps the lawyer idea as a strong career possibility, too.
It’s interesting for Reynolds to look back over his years in school and think about the different things he’s thought of doing with his life at various times. He thanks his parents for always being supportive of the constantly changing ideas he’s had. “I wanted to be a football player for the Iowa Hawkeyes, then I wanted to be an aerospace engineer, then an astronaut … and through it all, they’ve always been right behind me, cheering for me.”
His parents have also helped him, he said, with something he feels is very important — never telling him anything is impossible. When a kid wants to be something and parents talk their child out of that passion, “that’s pretty tragic,” Reynolds said. “Parents are supposed to root for their kids and encourage them to be anything they want, instead of putting them down.” This support has impacted Reynolds, and he would tell all kids, “to not let the opinions of others control you. Too many times, I’ve asked people what they want to do with their lives, and they say, ‘I want to do this, but my parents, friends, etc., say it will be too hard, there’s low demand, etc., so I’m going to do this instead.’
“If you truly want to do something, you will not let difficulty stop you. If someone says your dreams are too difficult, just take that as a challenge to do it — that’s my philosophy.”
At Nevada High School, Reynolds has found teachers who have become great mentors to him. He names specifically, Miss Weber and Mrs. Beauchene. “Any time I was trying to make a decision based on my schedule or how I was going to set myself toward my future, I always went to them for guidance… I’d also like to mention Mrs. Frideres. I haven’t had much interaction with her besides AP U.S. Government, but in that class, she really helped encourage me to be positive toward others.”
Nevada students have hopefully gotten to know Reynolds a little bit during his few years here, and he hopes most see him as smart, funny and as a leader. The three are important assets in making him who he is. “Being smart and able to have a serious conversation with someone is great, but being able to just be casual and joke around with people is a whole other joy to me. I’d be happy to have a conversation about the purpose of life just as much as I’d be happy to hang out with some friends and chill.”
Saying he is already in a transition to post-high school, Reynolds knows he will miss high school, even though he wouldn’t want to relive it. “I loved my high school days, because there was a preset schedule … you knew exactly what you were getting into every day, but at this point, I’m ready to start taking control of my own path… I’ll miss the low level of responsibility found in having others make all the decisions for me, but as I’ve said, I’m ready to start making those types of decisions on my own. I like being in control of my time, so I won’t miss high school too much.”