Xiao Lin He
Keep your options open: the path ahead
By Xiao Lin He
Do you remember when we were kids being asked what we wanted to be when we grew up? Well here we are now, all grown up. Whether you wanted to be an astronaut or a ballerina or even a dinosaur, it took 12 years of schooling to get to this point.
Personally though, when I was younger I wanted to be a cat.
But didn’t we all at some point? I didn’t really know what career I wanted to go into but pets seemed to have it easy, since all they really needed to do was sleep, eat and play. I’ve realized since then that it wasn’t possible to become a housecat, though it took me a long time to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. And now that I’ve grown up a bit more I’ve had the opportunities to be able to observe what it is that the adults do and what I could do that I could enjoy as a future endeavor.
In a way, though, going through the horrors of high school helped a lot with that. I knew that I found a sort of happiness whenever I did things like stay out in the freezing cold during a football game or have my ears ringing long after an assembly ended. And so with that being said, enjoy it all. With previous seniors, I had heard them say that this would be the best four years of your life.
That part is a bit questionable, so instead I’d say that you should take it day by day.
Don’t overthink about the future too much, because if I’ve learned anything, it’s that all the classes I took on to help my college resume really didn’t matter that much.
My journey personally has been filled with countless AP classes, late night assignments, and more than one bad hair day. I spent the majority of time in school trying to do whatever I could for what I thought would get me into a good college, and I ended up struggling. It definitely did not live up to unrealistic expectations I had of High School Musical where I’d get into Berkeley playing basketball while only being 5’ 8” like Troy Bolton apparently was. Instead, it really was just all those moments you get to have with your friends and school friends, just to live a little and have fun. Maybe that’s why I stayed at school for so many hours. It was also, though, during high school that I learned how to take control of my own life and what to put value in. Because it was the people around me, our family, our teachers, and friends that supported me along the way who got me through it all. People don’t remember you because of your grades or if you were popular, they remember the kind of person you were and the relationships you made after all. Now we may not be able to go back in the past to relive some of the amazing memories we’ve had, but you’re never going to forget the ones you’ve made or where you came from. They say you only live once, but if you do it right once is enough.
Even before attending Maine West, the current students told us, the incoming freshmen, to get as involved as we could. And that’s just what I did. I ended up becoming captain of the fencing team, the Westerner art editor, and a COACH tutor — all things that 8th-grade-me wouldn’t have been able to even predict. However, now that it’s time to move on from high school I’ve been lucky enough to be admitted to a four year university where I’ll be studying architecture, blending both art and the STEM field together as I have always taken interest in both, and that is what I’ve found happiness in. It took me a long time to decide on that, until right up to the beginning of my senior year to choose this major, being as indecisive as I am, and although I’m exploring my options in a few years, I hope to get out and see the world — whether it be by studying abroad, transferring, or going to a grad school out of state, we’ll just have to see where I end up.