Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Back To School: And Now I Am A Senior

Minh Nguyen / youthjournalism.org
Last spring, these Hanoi Amsterdam High School juniors were on the cusp of senior year. From left to right: Trang Luu, Thao Hoang, Anh Vu, Linh Vu, Linh Vo. In back are Quynh Nguyen and Ngoc Do.

By Chi Le
Reporter
HANOI, Vietnam – Time flies and summer ends with the feeling you haven’t done enough. School is well underway in Vietnam, the grand opening ceremony already fading from memory.
I don’t care much about that in particular, so what is there about the ceremony that has me toss and turn at night? Truth being told, there isn’t. Yet I’m slightly bothered right at this moment in time.
I am not ready to be a senior. 
But don’t let yourself be troubled by my situation, as there are numerous perks to being a high school senior.
If you participate in an extracurricular activity, no more insecurities, I promise. Should you be an occasionally socially conscious person, you’re hereby freed from the nagging thought that seniors are disregarding your presumably dissatisfactory performance.
Though senior year hailed me with the warmest cheers, I still tucked my hands cozily in the pockets of summer.
The most common thought about senior year is how it equals hard work.
When I said hard, I mean pulling frequent nighters if, A.) you still fail to arrange the schedule wisely as in your junior year, or B.) you have too much load to carry.
I expect senior year to be a stressful phase of schooling, when I am subject to the normalcy of being a student and the irregularity of preparing myself for college. 
Congratulations self, you are now old enough to decide your future, at least where you will be in the next four years.
While not exactly the most soothing factor in being a high school senior, it could genuinely serve as a gentle reminder for me to put my best efforts into the game. For anyone who has the disturbing tendency to procrastinate, truth is motivation.
But there is no way I will let myself have panic attacks at night. Senior year is not even close to a nightmare. It is the probably the best time in a student’s life.
I may not have walked the walk, but I harbor this gut feeling that most of my school memories will trace back to this year.
The fact is, the best school traditions are for seniors and seniors only.
When I used to wonder what it was about senior year that made it so awesome, an awkward silence was all I got for an answer. I could discover little of what made the year magical.
Being serious about the future is hardly fun, and goodbyes are never easy.
Knowing that I am granted one last time to be in high school scares me: I could never savor everything I adore.
But at the end of the day, it may not be the quantity that matters. I should be content making the most of my time with friends (and teachers) and trying to be a little more adventurous as senior year never comes back for a second try.
Maybe after all, I should not be bothered. Maybe there are things I could never be ready for; graduating is among those. Even then, it should never keep me from embracing this precious gift of time.

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