A Reflection On the Past School Year ⌛️

On March 14, 2020, my freshman year of high school was cut short by COVID-19. Fast forward to June 2022, my junior year has officially ended and I’ll now be moving on to my last year of high school. It’s blown my mind how fast everything has gone by. It feels like just yesterday when I walked on campus awaiting the ocean of memories about to be made.

Now that I’ve officially experienced my first full year of high school, I kinda want to do a little reflection on my time this year.

Online To In-Person

Online school was for sure a drastic change to your traditional high school experience. In addition to the whole schedule being changed, teachers now had the option to do things they couldn’t before. Teachers would teach while on vacation and students would do something similar.

I knew a kid that would wake up at midnight in Korea to take his classes and have fun the rest of the day.

Online schooling was just more flexible and accessible. Students now had more time to pursue their passions outside of school and explore who they truly were.

However, things weren’t always sunshine and rainbows.

Online school cut off the majority of interaction between students; arguably one of the most important reasons why I continue to go to school every day.

When freshman year was cut short, the number of people I interacted with dwindled to a small circle. I was cut off from many of the friend groups I used to hang out with daily.

As a result, coming back to school where you see everyone in the flesh, was a whole different experience.

The Start

The first day of school was rather interesting.

Seeing everyone for the first time after 1 and a half years was insane. Friends that I recognized instantly were 5 inches taller, some had grown their hair out, and a few looked like new people.

It was for sure a challenge familiarizing everyone and adapting to their new behavior. COVID 100% changed our social interaction skills and I was no exception.

From actually waking up in the morning and having to walk to school, this was already a big change from getting out of bed and jumping straight to school on a laptop within seconds.

I’d say that being involved in the student government at school helped accelerate my path towards normalcy.

Hosting events, brainstorming ideas, and executing them helped occupy my mind and distract me from the myriad of small ticks going on in my life.

Events like homecoming, Halloween, and the myriad of smaller class events filled the void and yearning for social interaction. Especially after a whole year of not doing anything with distant friends, it was a pleasant refresher.

School work was also ramped up heavily as teachers started assigning significantly more compared to the year prior.

Overall I’d say that the start of school was 100% a great yet unfamiliar experience.

End of the Semester

Ah, as the months went by finals soon approached.

Like everyone this was one of the pain points I had in the year. Teachers swarmed to finish overdue material and grade completed assignments.

In addition to all that work, studying for final tests became the bane of my existence. Compared to my peers who were taking 3–4 AP classes I had it a bit easier (I had 2 APs).

It was for sure amusing seeing the whole atmosphere of the student body change as people became more hyperfocused on their studies for this brief amount of time.

However, in everyone’s eyes glimmered the thought of enjoying the 2-week winter break.

I’d definitely say this time was one of my lowest points as my schedule would just consist of nothing but grinding for school, maintaining my outside of school responsibilities, and still having some sort of social life.

Start of Semester of 2

Similar to the start of semester 1, semester 2 really wasn’t all that different. Besides being more comfortable in the school setting, my day to day life remained stagnant.

But now that the end of my junior year was on the horizon, I noticed a lot more people in my grade talking about college and the current senior’s college decisions.

From the apparent UCs slaughtering everyone to an acquaintance getting accepted by 5 ivy leagues, this was for sure the time to be alive.

The sparatic news definitely prompted me to sit upright and start thinking about my path next year.

In addition to keeping my grades up I also started studying ahead for my AP tests as well as doing some final preparations for the coming year.

Since it was also spring season, men’s volleyball emerged from the horizon. I played from February to May as the starting outside pin hitter. Even though this was a significant time commitment, I believe it was beneficial as it helped me familiarize with people of differing ages and solidify my bond with future teammates.

Soon later I also participated in DECA’s ICDC competition in Atlanta, Georiga closer to the end of the school year. A couple weeks after I also went to a student experience at the U.S Army Academy in West Point, New York.

I can for sure say that semester 2 was already miles more enjoyable than semester 1.

Even though I didn’t end off the year in terms of what I wanted academically, I’m still proud of what I was able to accomplish over the school year.

Looking Forward

Now that junior year has officially come to a close, I’m now on my way to completing this chapter of my life.

This summer I’ll be working a regular job at my local gym and food chain. In addition, I’ll be working intensely on my college essays, SATs, and any final extracurriculars to round off my application. It’s safe to say that this will be one of my most enjoyable yet challenging summers to date.

Everything I’ve worked towards up until this moment will finally bear fruit as I see my efforts reflected in my college applications. Though it’s bittersweet, I’m excited for what’s to come.

I plan on enjoying my senior year of high school as I say my goodbyes to people I’ve seen every year since 7th grade.

It’ll definitely be hard but I truly believe this is but the end of the beginning, a new page in the hundreds of pages yet to come.

This is exhilarating ⚡️

See You All Very Soon ✌️

THANKS FOR READING⚡️

I will be writing more about my Instagram experience, financial freedom, stock options trading and whatever I find interesting. Please let me know in the comments on how I can improve my writing, and if you enjoyed please consider smashing that follow button!!

— Tristian Xu

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