By Tae Hyun Yoon
SEOUL, South Korea – I recall that Mary Ann Evans, the famed English writer better known as George Eliot, once said, “Adventure is not outside man; it is within.”
This quote fits quite well to my current situation, as I approach my much-anticipated first day of high school. Therefore, I am happy to believe that high school will just be another one of the many adventures I will have in life, and that everything will go perfectly.
Let me rephrase that: I am trying to believe that everything will go perfectly.
As I await that fateful “Day of Judgment,” my heart never ceases to pound furiously as if I were about to bungee-jump off the Empire State Building.
High school. That dreaded epoch of sleepless nights and endless piles of work. That moment when a healthy young boy magically starts to grow gray and white hairs on his once-robust scalp. Although high school has been idolized as a period of “fun” and “partying,” any serious student will look through these false depictions at once. And so it is that I find it impossible to relax during the few days I have before “Doomsday.”
But enough with the hyperboles – the main reason most kids find high school menacing is not because of the workload involved. It’s more related to getting one’s independence tested out on the playing field for the first time.
|Tae Hyun Yoon|
In high school, more is expected from you than ever before, and the stakes are high, especially for kids that want to go to Ivy League colleges later on in life.
So in order to cope with the kind of difficulties that high school life presents, one must learn to discover how to be independent and be able to handle challenges by one’s own means. The time for depending on mommy and daddy to do everything is over.
In this sense, high school is a kind of entrance exam to society – only with a pass or fail grade.
As with many of my peers, I am starting to doubt my ability to be independent enough to succeed in high school in the few days I have left before D-Day. Of course, I don’t want to admit it to anybody else, but the fear is present, and I can’t deny it.
High school represents the arrival of my freedom, which is something I’ve wanted my whole life. But on the other hand, it represents a whole new variety of hurdles that I have to jump over, a whole new set of problems to solve. Even now, it’s my job to handle all of the concerns I have the best I can and appear strong on the outside, and I can’t expect anybody else to do it for me.
Come to think of it, though, I’m ignoring a lot of the benefits that high school presents to me. I will be able to encounter an entirely new community of people with unrivaled diversity. My opportunities are more limitless than ever, as I will be able to choose from a broad selection of courses that just keeps on growing as I move on.
The things I learn in high school will stay with me forever, and I expect that the diversity of the individuals that I will meet will help me discover both new things about the world and myself in general.
I’m a businessman in the early days of the Industrial Revolution – able to pick and choose from a list of thousands of opportunities. The risks run high. But the possibilities are immense, and the lure of uncertainty is stronger than ever.
Oh look, I’m relaxing a bit already. It seems that high school isn’t so bad at all – the place is a gold mine for opportunities. And I guess that I don’t need to worry about my independence anyway, because I have four long years to prepare myself for the famed horrors of society.
Even then, I have college and grad school to go to, which makes a total of about 10 or 11 years. Now that’s a lot. So I guess it’s a good time for me to get a small taste of the world and its mysteries, because after all, it can’t be too bad, can it?