It’s here! Graduation!

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It’s here!… Wait… What? Our class is graduating from high school? That’s not possible, I thought the year just started?

Yes guys, graduation is finally here and this is the last blog I am going to write for the Ojai Valley School Journalism team. For those of you who read my blog one month ago which talked about how graduation is right around the corner, well here we are, just a couple of days away from a huge turning point in our lives.

All those grueling, yet memorable years and the lessons we have learned from our peers and faculty have been, and will forever be, engrained into our hearts. I still remember three months ago, talking to one of my friends about whether or not I’d be able to remember what we had talked about that night. Believe me, I do remember what we talked about, and that moment also taught me that time passes like sand slipping through your hands.

Okay, that’s enough blabbering from me… But I want to wish everybody good luck! It’s been a joy writing blogs for the OVS Journalism team. Here we go!!! It is graduation!!!

End of an era

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Looking back five years, I still remember when I first stepped on campus at Ojai Valley School as an 8th grader. Fear of the uncertain filled my heart; I didn’t know what to expect and what challenges I would have to overcome at my new school. I gave my parents one last hug right before my dorm parent called me back into the dorms, and in that moment I knew I wouldn’t see my parents for at least three months, the longest I had been away from my parents at that time.

As scary as being a boarding student was, I have overcome it and made it to the very end, which is being a senior at Ojai Valley School. I still can hardly believe that it has been four years since I graduated middle school, and five years since I decided to leave home in Shanghai to come to school in the United States. There were a lot of things that I wanted to do during my high school years, and I have done many of them and feel accomplished because of it. Checking each thing off in my mind is a relief. I’m that much closer to my goal.

Looking forward, graduation is almost here. I have been through four proms, at least eight camping trips, played on a lacrosse team, was a stagehand for three plays, survived English 11, and lived with six different roommates. There are countless other memories, including having seen a lot of my former classmates/teammates graduate high school. I’m wondering what it will feel like to finally check off the last thing on my “To Do” list in high school — to sit on the stage listening to Mr. Cooper address us for the last time, and for his last time, because as we graduate he is retiring. It’s the end of an era for both of us, and the beginning of something new.

The End of a Chapter

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Four years have passed since the class of 2017 entered high school as freshmen. Four years later, it’s the last few weeks of our senior year, the last few weeks in high school. Graduation looms around the corner. Oh, the joy of finally finishing these four grueling years, yet what good memories are in those years.

We should all take some time to think about what we have accomplished in these four years and what we have learned from friends and teachers. These memories should send chills down our spines when we think about good memories with the great people we got to know during our time here at school.

It is hard to believe that it is all about to end. We’ll soon be waking up the day after graduation thinking: “Where did these years go?” So hug your friends harder, because this might be the last time you’ll see them – the reality of graduation is just a moment away. Hold your breath, because this is one of the biggest milestones of our lives. This is the one that defines us as adults, the one that marks our accomplishments as students. Prepare yourself, because graduation will catch you off guard. 

How have video games impacted modern culture?

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1.2 billion people identify as gamers. Currently, 700 million people are playing right now. 46% are female and the rest male. Females tend to like games such as word games, puzzles, dress-up, and ones where you care for pets, while males tend to like ones about action, racing, and sports.

Even if you only play Angry Birds, you’re a gamer – just a casual one.

World of Warcraft is arguably one of the biggest digital games ever made, so big it created its own worldwide subculture. Gaming is a career. The highest earning gamer earns 1.5 million dollars a year. Video games have created memes in T.V., movies, stand up comedy. In Germany, there’s a T.V. channel dedicated to games, and in Korea there are two cable T.V. stations committed to games. 

Movies have been made based on games, like Warcraft. Celebrities like Robin Williams have advocated for gaming and love to play. There’s even a memorial for him. Van Diesel, the late Paul Walker, and Cameron Diaz all play and have talked about it. The financial impact of gaming is that the music in games reaches huge audiences, like the Wow theme song. 

 There have also been bad effects of video games like anti-socialism, in which gaming has changed the way people live and interact. 

Working at McDonald’s

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Most of the young people who have just graduated college are trying to find jobs to get experience. There is one place to work where they teach teamwork and how to be a leader. That place is called McDonald’s, which may be surprising to most of you out there.

A lot of people think that if they get into a good college like Stanford, Harvard, UCI, etc… they will automatically get a high earning job. Yes that happens to a few young adults, but sorry to break it to you, most of us here are not part of that select few. Most of us are most likely to end up working at a fast food restaurant, and  McDonald’s is good for experience and to learn what teamwork really means.

Video games – could they be a sport?

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There’s a lot of controversy surrounding whether Electronic sports, or E-sports, as it’s called, should be considered a sport. Competitive video gaming has seen immense growth in the past 10 years, as technology has allowed companies to make better and more immersive games.

The platform for E-Sports has grown like crazy – E-sports events have more viewers than the NBA Finals, and the numbers are closing in on the famous NFL Super Bowl. In 2011, E-Sports and game streaming start-ups alone have raised up to 714 million USD. During the Starcraft finals back in 2011, the viewership was stunning as it had up to 3.5 million people watching around the globe. Since then, the viewership of E-Sports has risen more than 300% to a stunning 11.7 million people watching the recent Pro Circuit Championship in 2012. The prize pool for these events can go up to the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Some parents who once discouraged their kids from playing video games now see the potential they have for earning higher salaries than professional athletes by playing video games as their job.

So, is gaming a real sport? I think so. It requires strategy and critical thinking, and also a lot of stamina, just like sports. E-Sports athletes often retire by the age of 30-35. It’s demanding. For those of you who disagree, I would like to formally welcome you to the digital age.

Where am I from? Where do I belong?

I am an international student who has learned the ways of three different cultures. The country where I born doesn’t match my passport. My ancestors came from China, but World War II tore them away from their homeland and brought them to the island of Taiwan. The culture there changed as time went on, and Chinese and Taiwanese people have grown more and more different. Some may say that the Taiwanese and Chinese cultures have no difference, but that isn’t true to me.

When I was little I was taught two languages and was told that I was Taiwanese, and then in school I spoke English. And everyone in my family holds a Canadian passport.

People often ask me if I know where I am from, and I normally tell them that I am Taiwanese but hold a Canadian passport. The truth is that I have no idea where I am from or where I belong, or which country I should love and call home.

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What does it take to be a lacrosse goalie?

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Lacrosse. A sport that was played by the Native Americans. A sport that solves the problems of war. Instead of killing each other with swords and bows, many chose to play the game of lacrosse. (The solution of the problem would be decided by the winner of the game.) Since then, lacrosse has evolved into a modern sport, although it is not as popular as American football or basketball. Lacrosse industries have seen immense growth in the sport in the past ten years.

There is one specific position in lacrosse that requires the player to have a tough mentality, and good reaction: the goalie. If you think hockey goalies have it tough, imagine guarding a six-by-six foot goal with almost no body protection. Considering that the shots are usually taken five or ten yards out, an 80 mph condensed rubber ball no smaller than a baseball is flying towards you. Knowing that you only have a helmet, chest pad, gloves, and a stick with a net on it, would you stop it or would you get out of the way? The feeling of hot rubber scrapes your legs as you try to stop it, and it burns. Are you able to picture being in that position?

I started my lacrosse career in my 8th grade year at Ojai Valley School. Since then, I have fallen in love with the sport. At the beginning, I was introduced to the goalie position when some of my friends encouraged me to try it out and see if I liked it.

I had no idea that the position I was about to take was one that is high risk and requires a tough mentality. It was tough start to a new sport that I had never even heard of and had never even seen. My coach saw my potential in the position as well as my teammates and friends. With their encouragement, I continued and persevered. I played throughout middle school, and continued playing at the high school level.

There were not a lot of injuries during my 8th grade year, but playing at the high school level, I have suffered injuries to my knees, ears, and more. I have realized the sacrifices I have to make in order for my team to win and for me to be a successful goalie. Now I am a senior in high school and a team captain. After multiple losses and meltdowns in past seasons, I finally realize and understand what it takes for a person to be successful in a position as tough as lacrosse goalie.

So, are you tough enough to try the position out?