A 2023 Perspective on The Years Prior


As an honorary member of the Class of 2023, also known as your senior class for this school year, it still astounds me that the pandemic of COVID-19 began near the end of my freshmen year. At first, my friends and I were excited to begin Spring Break after working our tails off since January, but then our break was extended for another week…and then another…and another, until eventually, the news broke out that there had been a pandemic of a virus called “Coronavirus”, and the entire country had to be quarantined for the entire year. I remember seeing huge lines at the entrance of Costco as families tried to gain as many toilet paper and food as they can to stock up for the year. Online ordering became more frequent, and when the time came for everyone to be on summer vacation, it didn’t feel like a vacation at all. It was like the world stopped for me, even when online school started the next year as a sophomore. Even in junior year, I still couldn’t completely believe that the first two years of my high school career weren’t even inside a high school building, but instead, in this new campus where the hallways can confuse even the people who know them the most.

Finally, senior year has arrived, as crazy as it sounds for not only me, but my friends and family as well. So far, its been almost enlightening in a way since many of my teachers recognize that my peers and I are almost adults, and therefore, preparing us for college and beyond. Other than academics, I am a part of Speech and Debate and president of She’s The First, both of which have been with me since freshman year with a community that has helped me flourish into my best self. Outside of these halls, I do three types of Indian classical dance, which had their own experiences regarding the pandemic. Online dance class was not fun for me at all because of the lag between the music and the dance itself that made everything out of sync, and as a result, the teacher being unable to correct any mistakes that I was making during practice. I’m extremely grateful to finally get back to learning dance in-person because it is much more enriching than staring at a pixelized version of my teacher and classmates.

Some major differences that I have noticed between my years prior in high school and this year (other than being quarantined), is how much I have grown compared to freshman year. When I was a freshman, I was incredibly insecure and unsure of myself. I didn’t have the best elementary school experience, which affected me a lot since I cared so much about how I was perceived by other people. Now, although I still have a lot of self-acceptance to do, I can finally look at myself in the mirror and have a genuine smile on my face as I recognize my growth and validate myself as a human being. After years of having my worth be determined by other people, it was time that I broke that cycle and understand my own worth and potential as my own person, and not what someone tells me I should be.

When it comes to college and the future in general, it intimidates me a bit. Mainly because it isn’t something that I have direct control over, and the only thing I can do is make the right choices so I don’t wind up at a dead-end. However, after talking with friends and counselors, I realized that I don’t need to know exactly who I am supposed to be, and that it is a journey that takes time, not something that happens overnight. If we all knew exactly what we wanted to be from the moment we were born, I think it would take the joy out of the beauty of discovering ourselves and what we can do. To quote Forrest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” Maybe some of the chocolates aren’t the ones you like, but there are plenty of chocolates in that box that you find an absolute delight to snack on! The same thing goes with the future – sure there are going to be events that transpire in a negative manner, but there are going to be events that throw in for a fun ride! It’s all about perspective and learning how to appreciate the little things in life that one usually wouldn’t notice.

To wrap things up, all I can say for the future seniors of this school is almost exactly what Mr. Bickes will tell you: your high school years will go by fast and in the blink of an eye, you’ll be on that stage, ready to earn your graduation certificate. Continuing off of another one of Bickes’s quotes-be someone who make it happen, not watch it happen and definitely someone who asks “What happened?”.