Ah Arcadia, a textbook example of an "Asian Bubble" and where the definition of "average" is far above average. Here are five things almost everyone at Arcadia has experienced.
- Freshman denial: Oh, freshman year, when you brushed off those warnings on how it would only get harder from here and worried about your 97 dropping to a 96, forcing you to take the Modern World History final. Sadly, as Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." For me, that ignorance led to the decision to take up AP Biology even after deciding to take Biology over the summer.
- Ignoring the counselors' warnings: Well, ever since eighth grade when we first encountered that phrase, "We recommend you don't take more than 3 AP's or Honors courses a year," it faded into the distance as we began writing our AP filled four-year plans and dreaming of ambitious expectations. Little did we know, we'd continue to follow these ambitious schedules, oblivious to our mental health. So much to the point, the counselors don't even bother repeating those 14 words when we program, they robotically rip another sticker off the tape until the sheet is almost vacant.
- Realizing you're not that involved: Oh gosh, as the end of the year arrives, we start to realize that we'll be another year closer to writing college essays and branching off while simultaneously stressing about living up to the high expectations we were born to. Secretly calculating your acceptance rates as you meticulously plan your year forcibly too early, you rush to compare yourself to your peers. Walking down the halls while hearing whispers of SAT and ACT courses or summer internships as you think back, "What am I doing?".
- College Climbing: Of course, after contemplating about your "low" scores and GPA, you begin to grow worrisome about your admittance to even any college. By any college, it really means a UC; not just any UC, but at least one people actually know. You begin to wonder if your private college dreams and ivy league aspirations are beginning to fade into the impossible as you frantically begin to apply for every leadership position in sight just for the sake that chance will grant you at least one. One, one position will merely give you a leg up on someone else, but two or three may give you something. Yeah, we've all been there, we all hate each other for it, especially ourselves. Is this really a lifestyle?
- Wondering why you did what you did: Finally, as you continue to grow older, you think back, "Why?". In the hopes of following in the footsteps of the upperclassmen who now walk the halls of Stanford, Harvard, and basically every other dream school, we realize the same thing they did. While we were drowning in AP/Honors courses, racing to rack up volunteer hours and leadership positions, and slowing chipping away at our mentality, we remember the moments--when you had a staycation instead of traveling abroad, wondering how many plants and trials you need for AP Biology, had to turn down a chance to watch a movie with friends, and slept at 3 a.m. for a good three years because of you needed to cram the night before a test. Was it all worth it? Will it all be worth it?
No matter how many times you've run through it, no matter how many times you've read the regrets, you still find it worth it. Within those regrets and lessons, you see the accomplishments, the effort, and perseverance in hopes of one day too persevering.