The task was simple enough. “Describe your classmates in three adjectives and give a few anecdotes.”
However, sitting in the middle of the Senior Moratorium, listening to Claudio Arrau’s rendition of Liszt’s Un Sospiro, I wasn’t expecting to be stumped by Ms. Perla’s Senior Adjectives and Anecdotes Form.
After all, I go to school with these people every day. This should be easy, right?
But as I grasped at all and any memorable events that happened within the last few years, I quickly realized I did not have many.
A quarter into senior year, Thanksgiving season around the corner, I sit here and reflect on my time in high school.
It hit me that I was not the involved friend I originally thought I was. I realized I had missed out on fully enjoying my four years of high school with my friends. My overfocus on filling my schedule to the brim with rigorous courses l had left little time to go to sports games or just hang out after school.
As I went through the form, every generic adjective I put down stung because as it made me reminded me of my regrets of not spending more time with my friends.
I am already applying to colleges, preparing to move on from high school to the next stage of my life, but there are still so many things I haven’t done.
When I was in middle school, my friends and I would always stop by fast food places together, go bowling or even hang out at the park. My high school experience, however, has been lackluster in comparison.
Sure, I have texted my friends online from time to time, but for the past four years, I have only gone out once to hang out with my friends outside of school events.
The thought had just drifted out of my mind after I became overloaded with work and expectations. The pandemic might have contributed to this issue as well, as it directly prevented hangouts.
Nonetheless, I did not even realize how much I missed doing those things with my friends until the issue directly confronted me.
That’s why, after all this college application madness is over, I have made a promise to myself to gain back what I have missed.
Believe me, I had always been open to going out with friends, but I realized the root of the problem was my mindset. I was used to waiting aimlessly for others to suggest a hang out.
Now, I understand that if you want to accomplish something, you have to proactively decide on the specifics of how you are going to reach your goals within this short four-year time frame. Your friends are just as busy. They are just as likely to wait for you to set plans in motion.
Over the past month, I found success in making the extra effort to reconnect with my old middle school friends at the mall. Although we talked frequently through Discord voice chat, relearning our old secret handshake or giving the bros a hug strengthened my sense of belonging and reminded me of the importance of spending physical time with your friends and family.
Most of the time, the hardest step is committing to change; an old friend could be only a text message away.
At the same time, you should also be open to experimenting.
In addition to fun hang outs, you can deepen your connection with your peers by working toward something you care about together.
One piece of advice I would give my freshman self is to try more things outside of the schedule set for you by CavNet and to follow your passion: this is the best time to experiment with what you enjoy beyond the basics of school. Go have that epic laser tag game with your friends or start a club together.
My realization from the Senior Adjectives and Anecdotes Form reignited my motivation to continue a club idea I have had in the works since last summer. With the help of friends, I plan to combine my involvement with art, design and business to create something memorable.
Although a large part of high school is made up of schoolwork and classes, there is more to the whole high-school experience than just pursuing academic rigor.
In other words, don’t just follow the path set to you by classes or extracurriculars. Instead, be more proactive in strengthening your relationships.
I’ve learned that it is never too late to start.
In fact, Thanksgiving is a great opportunity for self-reflection, appreciation and readjusting goals for the future. Make sure to appreciate all aspects of the experience and make the most of what you want to accomplish before it all whizzes by in a flash.
— By Garman Xu
Originally published in the Nov. 16 edition of The Octagon.