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.
I wanted time to speed up. Everything seemed like it was moving slower than a tortoise going for an afternoon stroll. I wanted everything to end. It seemed like those 4 years would drag on and would take up my whole life. I always thought that those 4 years would be filled with tears of stress and sadness. I really believed they were going to be the worst 4 years of my life.
But, now, I’m sitting in my last class of high school and all I’m asking for is five more minutes. Everything flashed by in the blink of an eye. I want to relive so many things. Those 4 years went by too fast and seemed like they were one of the smallest parts of my life. The years were filled with tears of stress and sadness, but they were also filled with happiness and love. So far they have been the best 4 years of my life; I made so many friends, had so many new experiences, and really learned who I was. I just want to live in it for five more minutes.
It’s that time of year again where high schoolers across the country spend hundreds of dollars to prepare for one amazing night that defines their high school experience: prom.
Admittedly, I’ve been desensitized to the excitement of prom. This year is my sixth year attending prom, an occasion usually reserved as the most magical night for seniors, and some lucky juniors, across the country. For me, it’s always been just another, slightly more, glamorous dance.
But this year is my senior prom, so I’m putting more effort into it and I’ll admit, I’m also more excited for it than usual.
I bought my dress back in February. I love my dress, a long rose gold sequined dress that brushed the floor, two slits going to the middle of my leg. It fits the disco theme this year and I’m happy though it wasn’t at all what I was going for. I love my accessories just as much. Glittery silver heels, a matching clutch, rhinestone earrings, and bracelets.
Surprisingly, my dress and accessories were the least expensive and I still have much more money to spend just to prepare for this night.
Tomorrow, I’m getting my nails done. I already emailed the artist the nail art I want to do. I’m getting gel nails for the first time. Then, I’m getting my eyebrows done, threaded and tinted, something I never tried before. Prom is giving me new opportunities to try new things. I’m also getting my eyelashes permed, something I’m horrified of trying, but I hope works out as well as all the reviews and blogs I’ve read about it online.
Prom is only two weeks away and that’s it. I’m done. I won’t be going to another prom again, but I’ll have the memories from the photos to remember it by. But, once prom ends, I’ll get on spring break, then count down the days to May 1st when I have to choose where I’ll go next year, then May 31st: the day I graduate.
It’s so scary how high school is suddenly coming to an end. That, next year, all my friends from high school will be spread across the country, maybe even different continents. I don’t know what’ll happen then, but I’m finally, truly excited for prom. Excited to dress up glamorously with all my friends one last time and dance until the last minute for one more memory to make.
I’m graduating in less than 18 weeks. 18 weeks seem like a long time, but, when I think about all the things I will be doing from now until may 31st, it suddenly isn’t that far away anymore.
I haven’t gotten a single college acceptance yet. I haven’t gotten rejected, either, but that only means that I’m just as far away from knowing where I want to go next year as I was two months ago.
In a few weeks, I’ll be performing in my last ever musical here. I’ll be going on my last ever ski trip with this school. I’ll be going to my last ever prom, probably without a date. I’ll be playing at my last ever talent show (with no talent, still), and I’ll be going to my last ever OVS graduation, but this time it’s mine.
I’ll be walking down the stairs, sit lined up with my classmates on stage, get my diploma, and then that’s it. That’ll be the end of my past four years that were such an important chapter in my life and that contributed to so much of my personality. That’ll be it.
But, before that happens, there are so many more weekends to spend watching movies in the lounge, many more camp trips to go on and freeze my a** off, many more mental breakdowns over tests and AP’s to endure, horse shows to go on, story deadlines to miss, town trips to spend at Bliss getting frozen yogurt, sunsets to watch from the soccer field, and memories to make.
I won’t lie and say that this school and my life here is perfect. There are many things that I would like to change, but I don’t want to get into that now. Because there are so many more things that I am thankful for. Again, my time here hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been amazing. And in 18 weeks, it’ll be over, that’ll be it. And then, it’s time for another chapter.
I suppose this is the end. My last blog. The last post I write, and the last one I publish. The last piece of writing I do for Ojai Valley School – the place that has taught me how to write.
I came to school my freshman year having written essays before, but only formal, structured pieces for English class. I’ve always been one to write down my thoughts – I carry around a journal and have always documented my raw emotions. But before coming to OVS, I had never shared my writing with others.
Freshman year, I sat down in my first Humanities class, unaware of the flood of writing to come. Reading journals galore, I had little blurbs of writing due once or twice a week. Those reading journals were analytical, but they allowed me to delve into my thoughts and share my own interpretation of the material – something I had never done for school before.
And I think those reading journals, back in freshman year Humanities, bridged the gap between writing for myself and writing for school. And that allowed me to delve into Journalism, which introduced me to writing for others.
Fast forward four years. Here I am, at the end of senior year. Freshman year, I learned the value of my own thoughts in writing. And sophomore year, when I started taking Journalism, I truly learned the wonder of writing. I found my voice, and learned how to tell stories. I learned how to paint pictures of other people’s accomplishments and what goes on around campus. I learned to blog – to write metaphorically, and to eloquently share my deepest, most honest emotions. I truly learned to put my thoughts into words, and to fearlessly share them with the world.
So, again, here I am, writing my last blog post. I have written all sorts of blog posts over the past three years – ones that are funny, sad, sarcastic and honest. And now I have to wrap it up. This is the last thing I will write this year, for any class. The last bit of work I do before I graduate, the last bit of work I do in high school.
That’s pretty crazy.
Today is Wednesday, May 31st. On Friday, June 2nd, I graduate. I’m beyond excited, but also terrified. It doesn’t feel real. I always knew I’d get to this point, but now that I’m here it’s hard to grasp. It’s hard to believe that it’s me. I’m about to graduate high school. I’m about to be in college.
I can’t believe I made it. I know that’s a cliché thing to say, but I really mean it. These past four years have been pretty hectic. But here I am. T minus two days and I’ll be walking across the stage.
And I can’t wait.
I’m sad to be leaving – OVS has done so much for me and I’m going to miss it. All my friends, all my teachers, they’re going to be hard to leave. But OVS has prepared me well for college, and now I’m ready to move forward.
So goodbye and thank you to OVS, to Journalism, and all the writing I’ve done here. It’s the end of an era, and a great one too.
What is your impression of a boarding high school? Maybe you think it’s a place where bad behaved teenagers are sent. Well, this is not always the case. For example, I came to boarding school to get an American education.
I’m dyslexic, and I grew up in Japan where the disorder isn’t known at all. I was terrified to go to school there because my parents told me that if people found out I was dyslexic I would get bullied. I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone. The constant fear of someone discovering my secret crushed my spirit and my school life. Even though I studied hard late into the night, my grades were terrible. As an excuse for not doing well I pretended to be dumb and lazy. I couldn’t be myself, and no one could offer me help.
My life has changed completely since I came to OVS (my boarding school.) I’m getting good grades and am in student council, something I always dreamed of but couldn’t do in Japan because it involved a lot of reading. I’m able to play tennis, which I quit at home because I needed more time to study. I’m able to work on my photography and Photoshop skills. And most importantly, I’m able to tell people that I’m dyslexic without being ashamed about it or worried that I’ll be bullied.
It wasn’t easy to leave my friends and family, adjust to a language I wasn’t fluent in, and start life at a boarding school with new people. But my decision saved my life.
The video below shows a glimpse of what boarding school is really like.