On Graduating

I graduate high school soon.

It is certainly surreal to think about: four years of High School about to end, and plenty has changed since it began—my friends, my dreams, my ideals—so much has become different.

I still remember my aspirations when I first entered high school; it was to become an NBA Player—the first Filipino in the NBA. I wholeheartedly believed this and not once was I filled with doubt. I was a skinny 5’5” freshman fixed with the conviction that I was going to make it to the NBA. This dream would never even come close to happening. And after certain events, it was clear that I would never be able to pursue it. Yet it wasn’t until I was a junior that I realized this fact. In retrospect, my ambition appears to be simple naiveté. Nevertheless, it fascinates me. That unquestioning certainty, that stubborn dream chasing is something I try to recapture. I long for the day I am able to discover a passion that will once again push me to chase a dream so uncompromisingly.

My stubbornness also found its way into the classroom. I remember coming in to high school with all Pre-AP and AP classes and dropping them all the first week simply because I did not want to do the work. I would later come to regret this, but when I was a freshman I did not care. This event, I think, displays well the amount of change in my values and beliefs, especially towards education.

I remember having debates with my teachers and friends about the importance of certain classes. I remember telling them the phrase so many other students use: “I will never use this in life.” This phrase is of course, somewhat true. Unless you pursue certain career paths, you will likely never use complex mathematics for your future life. You will also probably be able to get on fairly well without knowing much science or being able to speak a different language. Yet I now see the significance of these subjects and the flaws of my previous argument. Mathematics–of doing Algebra and Geometry and Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus and Calculus–is important because it trains the brain; it improves intelligence. Mathematical problems increase the abilities of minds to think critically and logically. The use of mathematics itself may not be as apparent in everyday life, but to have the capability to solve problems logically can only serve to help.

Science is equally significant. I now realize the importance of a scientifically literate public for scientific literacy is one of the most important traits of an informed citizenry and democracy. It is a scary fact that almost half of the country doesn’t believe in evolution and even worse, in the reality of climate change. The purpose of science in high school is exactly for that reason: to make for a scientifically literate youth–one that will be able to make proper and scientifically aware decisions, because we will one day be in charge of the nation. I am glad that I know these things now and am eager to improve my knowledge in these areas in college.

I was also shortsighted: I did not realize how important all the classes I take would affect my college applications. I still remember the amount of stress I experienced during college applications and I am just glad that I will never have to go through that again. The fears of not getting accepted, the pressures of writing essays, filling out countless of information, the thoughts of “did I do enough”—I can certainly do without all of that. I feel sorry for those who will have to go through that agony. But once you are accepted to a college, it is complete happiness.

There is a reason why I was able to let go of basketball my junior year: it was because of this. It was because of writing, it was because I joined newspaper.

Joining newspaper transformed me because it introduced to me a new interest. I joined newspaper and unearthed a passion for writing. This new interest allowed for me to rediscover books. And at once, the focus of my life changed from my love for basketball to my love for reading and writing. It was not that I enjoyed one above the other, but it was because when I discovered this new area of interest, I was able to create a new aspiration. It is a beautiful thing to discover one’s passions.

I reflect on all that will change once I graduate and I am filled with tremendous ambivalence. I am eager to move on with my life, to immerse myself into my interests, to pursue my aspirations. I will fulfill a dream that I’ve had since I began high school of living and going to school in New York City. I will write and learn and explore. My life, for the next few years, will be an exhilarating adventure. Yet I think of all that I will lose when I graduate and I cannot help but be overcome by awful sentimentality.

My entire routine will change; I will live in the city—and not just any city, but the grandest, most renowned city of all and I am clueless. During my six years in The United States, I have only known life in the suburbs. I will be alone too: the countless people I have known and seen every day for the last few years of my life, will vanish from my daily life. Nearly all of the friends I have made for these last few years, I will never see again. For the first time since they were born, I will be away from my two younger brothers. All the memories I have made with these people and all the moments we have shared—to think that these last few days are the last few moments I will have with them… It is a terrifying thought though undeniably true.

And then there is the uncertainty of it all. I still do not know what I want to be in life. I thought I did for a while, yet as the future nears, I realize that I don’t. I have ideas of what I want to be and I lean towards certain subjects. However, I still do not truly know. And I am jealous of those that do. What pleasure it must be to know what exactly it is one wants to be in life! And for those that aspire to be doctors and engineers and lawyers I am even more envious. How convenient it is to be interested in disciplines that pay well!

Still, I am excited. I continue to pursue my interests; I am optimistic that one day I will discover my true passion. I went through four years of high school; four years in George Ranch; four years of memories and experiences. I am ready to move on. I am ready to continue discovering new interests, to continue learning, to continue looking for that which will which allow me to once again chase my dreams so stubbornly and uncompromisingly. I am ready to graduate. I cannot wait.