ZOOMING AWAY: My Country Day career is complete — it’s time for the next chapter

Wow. Just like that, my four years of high school are over as it’s time to bid farewell to Country Day.

When I transferred to SCDS as a fourth grader, I never could’ve predicted the next eight years of my life. I’ve been able to grow tremendously as a person and experience so many amazing opportunities through Country Day.

Specifically, I’m super glad I joined the Octagon as a junior and gained valuable collaboration and leadership skills. 

Now, I’d like to take this final opportunity to do some lighthearted myth-busting based on what I’ve learned over the last four years. I’d also like to address some common misconceptions as well as offer tidbits of advice on aspects of high school I wish I had done differently. 

Don’t fall into the arms race to take the most possible AP classes. If challenging yourself at the highest level academically is what you genuinely enjoy, don’t hold back, but just because your peers are taking 10-plus AP classes throughout high school doesn’t mean you have to. 

More to this point, taking five APs junior year isn’t the play. I dragged myself through this and had to work harder than ever. In some ways the challenge was beneficial, but I missed out on or didn’t give enough attention to other aspects of my life. 

Not to mention, if college and GPA goals are motivating students to take more AP classes, how is that a differentiator from thousands of others across the country falling into the same trap? 

Your time would be much better spent pursuing a passion or taking better care of yourself so you can perform better in fewer activities.

Students always seem to add more to their plate to try to make up for their “shortcomings.” I’d argue the opposite: People who are more committed and demonstrate excellence in fewer activities seem to end up better off. 

Meanwhile, I wish I had done a better job maintaining relationships outside of Country Day. In high school, I lost contact with all my friends from youth sports and those who switched to different high schools. 

I allowed my social circle to get really small and often blamed it on Country Day’s size rather than realizing I had blown opportunities to see other friends on weekends. 

This isn’t to say I haven’t developed strong bonds with students at Country Day — because I absolutely have — but being quarantined has made me realize how much I genuinely miss talking to long-lost friends.

My deserved reputation as flaky makes complete sense but is unfortunate nonetheless. 

I’d like to end with a few messages.

To my teachers: Thank you for everything you’ve taught me, academically and otherwise. Along with my friends and family, you’ve shaped me into the person I am today. 

To my classmates: It’s been quite a ride to be in the same class as some of you for eight years. It’s unfortunate it had to end this way, but this will bring us together and make the Class of 2020 memorable.

To my brother, who will be a Country Day freshman in the fall: Take advantage of your time at this special place. You might find yourself sad, angry or frustrated, but never forget to be grateful because it can be taken away from you in a moment’s notice.

As one of my SCDS idols would say: Yo, yo. Peace. 

— By Jackson Crawford

Originally published in the May 26 issue of the Octagon.