Big shoes, big heart

Some guys just make it look so easy. When Shahar Syed joined Publications as one of five senior staffers and became an honorary Opinion editor within the same year, he had some pretty big shoes to fill — but you know what they say about a guy with big feet.

Big heart.

The first time Syed wrote a feature article, we sent him back over and over on numerous interviews; he responded with nothing but enthusiasm. And even when he didn’t give us exactly what we were looking for, he was eager to listen and had no problem dealing with the onslaught of edits.

All this without breaking that iconic “Shahar smile” we all know and love.

“Even with these terrible character flaws like chewing with his mouth open and having a rice krispie addiction, he still managed to weasel his way into my heart,” senior Katie Nguyen said. “He’s so flipping charming and easy to talk to that I want to hate him out of spite, but he’s just so genuinely considerate and kind that I forgive him for not being as socially inept as I am.”

Since the beginning, all Syed wanted was to champion the golden “Design EIC” stitching on the illustrious editor cardigan. Turns out his dream wasn’t too far-fetched. Halfway through the year, he became the first staffer to achieve an editor position in his first year of publications. He also built the Feature section with Nguyen during switch issue and crafted an entire article on Publication’s own senior Niandong Zhu.

What normally takes an entire year of training and a two-week-long application process for any regular staffer took him a couple of months. He makes it look too easy.

“Shahar is really unique,” Bryan Wong said. “He’s a huge nerd, but at the same time he isn’t. He comes off as goofy but is actually really insightful and smart… contrary to the unorganized stack of papers he carries all the time.”

Outside of Publications, Syed is an avid “Super Smash Brothers” enthusiast and aspiring economist. He spends hours mashing away at GameCube controllers alongside burying his head in books about the economy; both hobbies are a testament to his deceivingly fine attention to detail. He plans to attend Mt. Sac after graduation and study economics.

“Shahar’s able to remember really small details that I’ve brought up in conversation, whether it be where my older brother’s name came from or the number of cardigans I’ve worn in a week,” junior Michelle Chang said. “Maybe that makes him creepily obsessed with me, or maybe that just makes him Shahar. Regardless, I’m pretty grateful to have been able to call him my Opinion co this semester and then so much more.”

Behind the list of impressive talents stands the goofy yet loveable Shahar whom we all know for his countless mannerisms. Where would we be without the occasional “ya done goofed” to remind us where we’ve fallen short, or the all-too-familiar “whoop whoop” to pick us back up? His optimism and charisma diffuse past himself and rub off onto those around him.

“I feel like he makes everybody, including myself, feel more comfortable and like…supported? (laughs) But, yeah, he’s just an easy person to talk to,” senior Michelle Feng said. “He’s an incredibly encouraging, heartfelt, genuinely caring guy, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to have three consecutive classes together with him this year.”

As we end the school year, Publications gives a huge thank you to Shahar. He’s demonstrated excellence as a staffer, an editor and as a friend who lifts the spirits of others. His accomplishments, quirky catch phrases and iconic goofy laugh will always remind us of the guy who sags his pants around and carries his papers in a stack but can also do a total 180 and reveal his genius by managing two sections of the Hoofprint in a single year, and by writing an inspiring piece about “the man behind the awards.”

Not bad for a guy who carries his water bottle around in a paper bag.

By Bryan Wong, Feature editor

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