Senior Column — Amanda Chang ’23


Amanda Chang, Staff Writer

Thank you to The Quill for shaping my life in ways that I never could have imagined when I first joined. I was so disappointed when I learned that I would be the 2021-2022 Media Editor. I didn’t even know how to hold a camera. But it led me on a path that I hope will keep me rooted in my identity and values. My own idea of success.


To be honest, I struggled for weeks when it came to writing my senior column. It feels like one last hurrah before leaving The Quill and heading out into the great wide world. What to write about? What if I forget something important that I wanted to say?


For years, I tried to strive for perfection. But what I’ve come to realize is that nothing is ever perfect. Not my column, not my designs, not my relationships, not my opinions, and not my grades (yes, not every Arcadia High School student gets straight-As). 


Like many AHS students, I would compare myself to other students and even my friends. At one point, I even ranked some of my peers on a scale of 1-5 based on how motivated and intelligent they seemed (I was a three). Sometimes, I would be surprised and find that my peers were not at all like I had previously thought. But life is just like that.


While going through the college application and acceptance process, more and more of my expectations for myself and my peers were broken. I expected very little of myself and a lot from others. But how was I to know where everyone was going to get accepted into? I couldn’t. 


Just like the college app-acc process, I don’t know what life holds for me. But I do know that my identity in myself matters. When I’m 20, 35, 50, or even 100, my high school grades probably won’t matter. This column, with time, will eventually be forgotten, too. 


Without grades, how does an AHS student define themselves? For me, it is my relationships with my friends, peers, family, myself, and God that do and will matter. How I’ve treated others–have I been kind to them? Insulted them? Been a helping hand?–is what they remember. If I were to get into a verbal fight with a friend, would they bring up the fact that I had a B- instead of an A on that one algebra test from freshman year? Of course not! However, maybe they might bring up the fact that I was never there when they needed me most.


Being driven to achieve good grades and become “successful” is great. But don’t forget that “success” can mean more than just going to a good college, making lots of money, or getting your parents’ approval.


Craft your own definition of success and let that lead you. Remember your values–work hard, be happy, say thank you.