Friends, family, neighbors, and peers often ask me how my new school is going. Again and again, I tell them: “It’s a big transition.”
Coming in as a junior is challenging because everyone is already familiar with the teachers and classes. I finally feel I’ve adjusted to the academic side, but it took at least a quarter of the school year.
Socially, it’s also been difficult, as everyone already has friend groups that have formed over the length of two years. It’s not that I don’t have friends at school – I have people to talk to in class, people to sit with at lunch – but outside of OVS, I tend to see people from my old school.
I miss them so much. I miss sitting next to Ula in every class and laughing with Siya in the lunch line. I miss my favorite teacher, Marie, and our advisories out on the soccer field. I miss hugging Danielle and Estrella each morning, working with Tomoki on math homework, and all the other mundane activities that, in reality, meant so much to me.
I spend every weekend catching up with these incredible people, but for the other five days of the week, it feels like a piece of my life or even of myself, is missing. “It will take time to adjust,” I tell people. Eventually, I will find a balance between these two parts of my life. But for now, I’m trapped in the space between.
My high school baseball career has come to a close.
I recently contracted Covid-19 which caused me to miss our round 2 playoff game, which would ultimately be the final game of our season and final game of my high school career. It was a weird feeling knowing I just my time as a high school athlete ended without being able to do anything about it. I got so many texts and phone calls from people telling me how sorry they were that this happened to me but I didn’t feel sorry for myself nor did I feel any emotion at all. I was just focused on making sure the people around me didn’t get sick while everyone else was focused on the fact I can no longer play high school baseball.
The funny thing is I am content with my career coming to end the way it did. For instance, in the last game I played in we won, our school got its first-ever playoff win in school history, and I balled out. So there’s no bad taste in my mouth about how my high career came to an end. I am also playing baseball in college so that makes this ending not too bad.
However, there are a few things I miss about high school ball. I’ll miss the road trips to away games, the inside jokes with the guys, getting yelled at by my head coach, and getting out of class early on gamedays. I’ll miss the early morning lifts, the post-game workouts, the late nights hitting off the tee, the extra work after practices, the sprints, batting practice, catching bullpens the day after catching a whole game because we don’t have a backup catcher. But the one thing I’ll miss the most the memories I’ve made with all my teammates.
Technically the computer isn’t in my backpack (because I’m typing on it currently) but I packed it this morning so it counts. I have a either 2017 or 2018 (not sure) MacBook Air and it’s covered in stickers. My charger is also in my backpack. It’s the old kind that attaches magnetically and it’s kinda wide.
My Main Binder
I always have my main binder in my backpack because I keep most of my papers in there. I have dividers for each subject and an extra for my English essays. The binder is green and it’s like 2 inches thick I think.
My Spanish Binder
I have a separate binder for Spanish because my teacher requires it. It’s purple and an inch and a half thick.
My Subject Notebooks
The academic classes I have today are journalism, math, and Spanish. I also have my chemistry notebook because I’m gonna do the homework during my study hall. My journalism notebook is purple, my math one is orange, my Spanish one is blue, and my chemistry one is yellow. I’m aware that my color choices might be controversial. Honestly, I just randomly assigned the colors at the beginning of the year. I kinda regret that choice now, but I deal with it.
My Pencil Pouch
My beloved pencil pouch has seen all of high school with me. One of my mom’s friends gave it to me in eighth grade. I keep a phone charger, hand lotion, chapstick, pencil lead, a fidget toy that’s a stick with glitter in it, a bit of trash, a Sharpie, an eraser, several black pens, lots of colored pens, a few highlighters, and my one favorite mechanical pencil in it. It’s pretty nifty.
I have reading glasses that are blue-light blockers. The frames are dark blue and white. They’re RayBan.
This is self-explanatory.
My Hero Academia Manga – Volume 7 and 24
I always bring some manga with me if I know I have a free block or study hall and don’t have a ton of work to do. I’m working on volumes 7 and 24 right now. I have about 11 My Hero Academia manga and these are the last two I haven’t finished yet. I’m looking forward to getting more manga for Christmas.
My trusty TI-84 Plus CE always stays in my backpack. I’ve had it since last year. It’s the rose gold edition.
I have tissues in my backpack because you never know what could go down at school. By that I mean getting a nosebleed or having a bad allergy day.
Some Candy That’s Literally Over Two Months Old
I’m not kidding. I have several packs of M&Ms from the first day of school when all the students got candy thrown at them. I wonder if they’re still intact or if they’ve melted and re-solidified too many times for them to be recognizable.
Some #2 Non-Mechanical Pencils
You never know if you’ll completely forget that you have a huge standardized test, so I have some #2 non-mechanical pencils just in case. I’m always ready to take a PSAT.
A Dinosaur Pop It
He’s a T-Rex and he’s rainbow colored. I got him in France over the summer for like €5. Pretty good deal. He’s very precious to me.
My Rescue Inhaler
I have asthma so I carry a rescue inhaler with me just in case. It’s the blue kind.
A Little Bag of Crystals
Gotta keep the vibes good.
My Afternoon Medication
I take the quick release for my ADHD meds around 2pm. I keep the pill in a little pill holder I got in Barcelona. It has a Gaudí lizard on it.
An Extra Mask
Just in case.
So I don’t get bored during my free block or have to be the person listening to the assignment out loud. They have a turquoise case.
A Cliff Bar
I get hungry sometimes. I like the original chocolate chip kind.
A Pair of Earrings – I Was Wondering Where Those Were
While checking my backpack to make sure I didn’t miss anything, I found my India agate crystal earrings. I haven’t seen those for a few weeks now. Glad I know where they are now.
As I walked down the hill, rounding the bend just before reaching the parking lot, a thought ran through my mind, but in an instant, I had expelled it. I had thought to myself, “what if this is the last time I set foot on this campus as a student?” But with stormy weather approaching and a sour mood pervasive through the student body, I didn’t allow myself a moment to linger on the idea, and left swiftly, my stereo silent, with only the mechanic hum of my engine to fill my thoughts. Why was I in such a hurry to leave?
I keep playing that moment back in my head. I didn’t take a moment to say goodbye to anybody, I knew I wasn’t going to see them for at least a month, even a brief farewell would be better than nothing. After all, these are the people I have cultivated strong relationships with the past seven years. But I don’t think I was ready.
Now that the remaining strands of my senior year are confined to a desk and I have much of the day to sit on my bed and think, I try to occupy myself with plans of the future. I committed to my college a month earlier, I’m already searching for roommates, trying to get my ideal housing. But I’m still trapped in that moment.
That one singular instance, an otherwise insignificant instant in time amounting to no more than a single shutter of a hummingbird’s wings, and I’m frozen in it. I stand there, Thermoflask in one hand, lunch bag in the other, backpack on, rounding the corner, staring directly at my car as if that would get me there faster. Why was I in such a hurry to leave?
I’ve never been in such a hurry to leave.
Maybe I knew this would be my last time seeing all my friends together again, and I was only trying to save myself, escaping the flood of memories that was rushing down the hill after me.
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.