Senior Column — Leslie Chen ’22


Leslie Chen, News Editor

It’s surreal to think that this will soon be over. No more waking up at 6:30 a.m. sharp everyday, no more speed-walking to the other side of the campus during passing period, no more solving daily Wordles during first period. In a couple of days, my four years will be wrapped up with a handshake and a piece of paper. 

Was high school what I expected? Of course not. I didn’t expect to join the school newspaper and learn that I don’t completely hate writing. I didn’t expect a pandemic to lead me to go to school in my pajamas for an entire year. I also didn’t expect to do a 180 and change career paths halfway through college application season. But I suppose that’s life—it’s unpredictable, and you just have to adapt to every step of the way.

I won’t lie—I’m not completely proud of my high school experience (falling down the S-building stairs during freshman year is still traumatizing). And yes, I wish I could change some parts of my high school experience: attending more bonding events instead of unnecessarily stressing about my grades at home, trying out for more leadership roles instead of being scared of rejection, and learning from my classmates instead of constantly comparing myself to them. 

But I’m satisfied, and that’s enough. These past four years were long and challenging, but I’m grateful for it all. I’ve learned many valuable lessons: how to balance my mental health with my academics, how to communicate with different people, what my limits are as a student and person, and what time to wake up to beat the horrendous morning traffic on Campus Drive. While I didn’t enjoy everything about the past four years, I appreciate who I’ve become because of those experiences.

I don’t need things like a diploma or a graduation cap to tell me “I made it”. It’s the memories I’ve made, people I’ve met, and insights I’ve gained that make me feel like I’m about to close a significant chapter of my life. As the last day of school inches closer, I’ll take in each day slowly. I’ll celebrate everything my classmates and I have accomplished and achieved over the past four years. But it’ll also be hard to say goodbye to my friends, knowing we’ll be scattered all over the country. 

Honestly, I have no idea what my future looks like outside of Arcadia. But I hope that like high school, it surprises me in the best way.