This is my last year in high school where my grades need to be A’s, where my extra curricular activities matter. This is my last year where cramming in PSAT prep will benefit me, and the last year where SAT prep is a dreaded ritual.
After this year, the hours on hours of work, sleepless nights, cramming for texts, student leadership applications, struggles I faced, fun memories I had, volunteer activities, extra curriculars, and sports achievements will all be put on to a single document… The last three years of my life will be put on a document; an application.
By the end of this year I’m supposed to have a general idea of my life plan, my career, and my identity.
By the end of the year I’m supposed to have perfect SAT scores, ACT scores, and 5’s on AP tests.
By the end of the year I’m supposed to be a person who will stand out amongst millions of other applicants.
This is my last year to become who colleges want me to be while still trying to stay true to the person I want to be.
In less than 365 days, I will need a paper explaining who I am, what I want to do, what I stand for, what sets me apart, and why I belong at the college receiving the paper. All of who I am, all of why I’m special, and all of why I belong in 650 words.
A transcript and 650 words which will determine my future, career and where I will be for the next four to eight years.
A lot to think about… a lot to do, a lot at stake. Welcome to junior year.
I’ve started this draft several times. I’ve written sentences and sentences only to change them, revise them, and, eventually, just completely eradicate them and end where I started: with nothing. Because every time I try to write about this, I can’t formulate the right words to say. Even though I’ve discovered at OVS that one of my biggest passions is writing, I’m speechless when I try to write about what these last four years meant to me.
When I came to OVS for the first time, I was an awkward freshman. I had no friends, no idea what I was doing, and no idea who I was or who I wanted to be.
The four years to follow threw me in for a loop of highs and lows in self development, friendships, and life. Now I have just a couple days until the craziest, most amazing four years of my life come to an end. Every year at this time, I had a strong desire for the days to end as quickly as possible so I could enjoy my summer break. This time, I’m scared for the inevitable last day of school to come. I’m holding on to every last second I can.
I’ve been to three graduations here. Every single one making me sadder than the rest, but there was always happiness in my heart when I’d hug my friends goodbye for the summer, especially because I knew I’d see them again. On May 31st, I’ll hug all my friends, but, when fall rolls around, I won’t see them again on the hill that’s been my second home for the past four years. We’ll all be scattered across the country taking on different cities and pursuing different passions. We won’t see each other at breakfast every morning or at the barn at the end of every day. We’ll see each other through FaceTime calls and at reunions during our holiday breaks. I’m bound to cry at graduation because of it all.
I’m happy we’re all going to colleges we want to go to and I know that these friends are the ones I’ll have for life. But the realization that this is our last week as high schoolers together is still sending a wave of shock over me that I’ve been drowning in the past couple weeks.
I’m horrified for what the future holds, but, at the same time, I feel so ready. Four years ago, I wasn’t sure if I would ever be ready for college and eight years ago I didn’t have any faith that I would even be going to college. Now, I’m excited to walk into the unknown and I have OVS to thank for it all:
For being a school that’s given me the opportunity to branch out and try everything I could ever want to try. I didn’t have to stick to one niche. I got to be a risk-taking athlete, an unfiltered writer, a confident leader, and everything in between.
The equestrian program for giving me a horse I love more than myself. For giving me a place I’ve made my best friends.
The camping trips where I went running through the Yosemite forests at night time with no flashlight and rode the bull of the raft while river rafting on the Kern trip. For making me push my limits and having them turn out to be the most rewarding moments of my life. For making me realize I love camping even though I hate going days without showering.
For my AP Spanish class making me fall in love with the language all over again and decide to study abroad in Spain instead of France. Law/Gov class that furthered my excitement to move to D.C. to study politics and intern on Capitol Hill. Especially for my journalism class that provided a source of gossip, a place to rant, and an endless supply of snacks, but more importantly, it has given me an outlet to explore writing and inspire me to pursue it in college.
Thank you for everything. For the good, the bad, and everything in between. No words could say it all.
I’m not gonna lie and say this school is perfect. There’s so much I’ve complained about and so many things I would change. But if I’m going to be honest, it was perfect for me. It was the place I needed for the kind of person I was to become who I am today. I had no idea what my purpose was or what my passions were and, while I’m still on a road of self-discovery, OVS put me on the right path.
School was hard today; long homework assignments on top of essays on top of tests on top of projects and, to make my day more stressful, I spent hours anxious and worried about fears in my head. To top it off, I skipped lunch to try and end a relationship with a boy without hurting his feelings, but it made the situation worse. By my last class period, my brain was throbbing wanting to explode and my anxiety was through the roof.
I wanted to lay in bed and cry, but I thought of a semicolon and put on my running clothes.
This is where my day started to change.
I asked an amazing girl if she wanted to run with me, I knew she had to run today anyway because she is training for a half marathon, so I thought we could run together.
She said yes and we set off for a five mile run.
After about two hundred feet, a sharp pain in my calf that I get often when I run started to scream inside my leg. My negative mind set began to kick in. I’m going to slow her down… This run is going to suck. You’re not going to be able to do this. You’re such a slow runner. This is why your coach isn’t proud of you. This is why you won’t make it to CIF.
Luckily, I made an amazing decision: I took a deep breath, cast out the negative voices, and just kept running.
My running parter and I talked about school and life and running. We talked until we both fell silent as we slipped under the spell of running: our movements connected directly to our breath, the pain became a faint feeling instead of an all-encompassing sensation, our foot steps made a clip-clop clip-clop rhythm. Our breathing was all our mind focused on and we became encompassed in the aura of running.
Breath in, step step, breath out, step step, breath in, step step, breath out, step step…
My breathing was like a conductor and my footsteps were the orchestra.
I usually run alone and it’s crazy how much running with other people can change your running experience. Even when we weren’t talking, I felt like my running partner was there for me. If I fell, she would catch me. If I needed to slow down, she would stay with me. If I wanted to run ten more miles, she would run with me and I hope she knows that I would do the exact same for her. If you are reading this right now, I hope you know how grateful I am to run with you.
When you’re in the zen of running, you go with the flow, you are supportive of your peers, and you are supportive of yourself. This is how I was today.
My legs felt strong, my mind felt clear. I was next to an amazing girl, surrounded by beautiful scenery. I was happy.
Once we got to our destination, we bought drinks, smiled, laughed, talked, and stretched out our aching muscles.
Running is an unpredictable sport. Somedays you’ll run a mile and your legs will feel like lead. You’ll be miserable, in pain, and want to stop. Other days, you’ll run ten miles and feel amazing, like you could keep going forever.
On bad running days, your brain will say “stop running,” your body will say “stop running,” but you need to find it in your heart to say “keep running.”
Runs like today are the reason my heart says “keep running.”
After bad workouts, bad races, and times where I want to quit, I will think back to the run I did today and think: “Runs like that are why I love running.”
The definition of a semicolon is a punctuation mark indicating a pause between two main clauses.
Semicolons are useful in writing and are taught in English class, but, to me, they are much more than a punctuation mark.
A semicolon is a moment where a writer could have stopped, but they decided to continue on.
I am the writer and life is the sentence. I write a semicolon because I could end, but I will choose to keep on going.
I have struggled in the past with self harm and this metaphor helped guide me through it and become the happy and healthy person I am today. Although I no longer struggle with the impulses to end my life, the semicolon metaphor still applies to me more than ever. The semicolon is most commonly equated to mental health, suicide, and depression. To me, this symbol can be applied to everything.
In life ,I strive to be the best I can. The best athlete I can be, the best student I can be, the best person I can be, the best friend I can be.
When I’m on a run and want to stop, I picture a semicolon. I have the power to stop, but I have the power to keep on going. I will keep on going.
When I see a person who is sad, I picture a semicolon. I could just keep walking, but I can help them. I will help them.
When debating between taking the easiest route or the route that is harder but strengthens you as a person, think of a semicolon and always remember:
You are the writer and life is your sentence. Embody the meanings of a semicolon and keep on striving forward.
I’m really confused about how my life is going to go in the future. I know what I want to, I’m just not sure how I’m going to do it.
My plan was to go either UCSB, Stanford, USC, or a college in Australia to study Marine Biology and/ or Environmental Science. I would then go to law school and become an environmental lawyer. At college, I would swim and play water polo.
Well, now I’m really in to running. I love triathlons too. I know I’m going to play sports in college, but which ones?
Recently I’ve been thinking about become a humane officer. It pains me to know that so many animals are suffering and abused. I want to dedicate my life to stopping the cruelty that takes place everyday. I want to do this, but there are some issues.
A humane officer makes 32,000 dollars annually. I don’t have millions of dollars in family money, I don’t have a billion dollars in my bank account, and I want to stay in California. I’m afraid 32,000 dollars would not be enough to have a home, a car, and eventually kids.
So, my plan is now to stick with being an environmental lawyer. I still really want to be a humane officer though…
Again, on the topic of money, I realized that I’m not going to have enough money to go to any of the colleges I want to go to. I could go to junior college. It would save a lot of money and I can save up for my next two years at a university.
I also want to take a gap year and go to the Peace Corps…
Will I go straight to a four year school? I wonder where I’m going to live after college? What college am I going to go to? What law school will I go to? Will I still want to be a lawyer, or will my opinions change? What sports will I play? Will I have a boyfriend? Will I get married? Am I going to have kids? When will I retire? Will I become a humane officer?
I don’t know, honestly. But maybe in thirty years, I’ll come back to this post and reflect on everything I did or didn’t do.