I would be lying if I said that I knew what I wanted to write about for this column, which is surprising because I’ve been looking forward to graduating since freshman year. After saying goodbye to three graduating classes, it feels surreal that I’ll be graduating and receiving my diploma in a few weeks.
But, for the sake of meeting my deadline, I’ll try my best to share the past four years of my life.
As a freshman, I remember how obsessed I was with the idea of attaining perfection. I wanted to be as close to perfect as possible in everything I did, ranging from academics to extracurriculars. I didn’t understand that high school was the place for me to learn, experiment and grow. Rather, I thought that high school demanded that I be flawless in order to someday end up going to the best colleges in the country.
Now, if you know me, you know that the idea of getting into a good college was important to me throughout the course of high school. But after applying to my long list of schools, and undergoing one of the most mentally and emotionally draining courses of eight months during my senior year, I finally understood what my time in high school truly did for me.
As I walk across the stage, I won’t be thinking about the AP classes I took or the A’s I received on tests, but the experiences I’ve had, and the people I’ve gotten to meet. Honesty, I probably don’t know 60% of the people I’m graduating with this year, but the ones I do know and talk to daily are the people who have celebrated every one of my victories and stood by me through trying times. These people, who I could count on one hand, are the ones who have shaped who I am today.
So let me just take a moment to thank you all. Kelly. Prachi. Kaya.
Without the three of you I would have never discovered my love for sticking my head out of sunroofs while blasting music, eating double blueberry pancakes at IHOP at 1a.m., going to Torchy’s and finishing countless bowls of queso, and exploring every boba place within a 50-mile radius. The moments we’ve shared together are ones that I will cherish forever, and I hope to make many more in the future regardless of the fact that we’re all going to opposite ends of the country. I truly cannot express how grateful I am for you three and can only hope that I was able to be as good of a friend to you as you were to me.
Also, to the two people that have been my biggest supporters for the past 17 years, no amount of “thank you’s” will ever be enough. My parents came to America in 2004 when I was 11 months old. Over the past 16 years, they’ve worked nonstop to give me everything I have. Dad, your work ethic and determination inspires me to give everything I do in life my all. Mom, you’re my best friend, and I hope that one day I can be as caring and generous as you.
When I do walk out of the high school for the last time as a student, I’ll be hoping I left some sort of positive mark on the high school. During the past four years, I have been grateful to have had the opportunity to write for TRL and play tennis for the school’s team. Even though I’ve had to wake up at 5 a.m. for multiple tennis tournaments and spend hours editing and sorting through story ideas, tennis and TRL gave me some of my favorite memories from high school. Both activities have pushed me to grow and push myself to attain my goals, whether it was to go from playing on junior varsity to varsity or going from a staff writer to Editor-in-Chief. Through these roles, I hope to have helped my teammates win matches by cheering them on and inspired staff writers to keep writing for TRL. I hope to leave an impact on the people around me, an impact which will help them succeed.
Now, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t crying as I approach the end of my last column for TRL.
Truthfully, when I look back on my high school experience I’m grateful for every second. Sure there were tests I could have studied harder for, friends I should have tried staying in touch with, and days that brought nothing but stress and homework. But for every bad moment, there were two incredibly good moments that made me smile. At the end of the day, both the good and bad times have helped define who I am, but I will always choose to remember the good ones and what the bad experiences have taught me.
So to anyone reading this column, I would recommend never to chase perfection. Chase after experiences.