High School is a great time to make friends, have fun, and learn. With graduation day quickly approaching, I am beginning to reflect on these past four years. I am glad I did many things during High School, but here are the top five things I am happiest I did.
1. Learn a Language
In Middle School, all students in the program I participated in had to choose a foreign language. At that point in my life I wanted to be a fashion designer, therefore it only made sense to take French so that I could travel to Paris. The only problem with taking French was that I hated it. I surely never felt comfortable with the language.
Then in 11th grade, I started taking Spanish. I began to love learning languages as both French and Spanish became easier to understand. I was suddenly no longer frustrated with French grammar or vocabulary, and practicing either language became fun! I even became more confident in my English vocabulary, as I found that the terms I was learning were very similar to English words.
While learning French and Spanish, I realized something else unexpectedly: learning languages was my hobby and I was passionate about it.
Although it was upsetting when I had to move to another continent after my ninth grade year, I am grateful that I moved. It helped me understand a new culture, and meet other people who are exciting! Moving to Abu Dhabi made me respectful and more understanding of other cultures AND religions.
I was also able to meet students who had moved from all over the world and who lived in multiple places throughout their lives. I was not only able to learn about Middle Eastern culture, but also about the cultures of places where my friends were from. I was invited to cultural events, such as a Día de Los Muertos party, and was able to have a first-hand experience.
I am glad I moved because of the learning I had, but also because I know that moving will be okay; you will always make new friends as long as you be yourself.
3. Spend Time With Family
With only a few months left living with my family, I am more than glad that I spent a lot of time with them. Since finishing my IB exams, I have had more free time at home than I know what to do with. It was a weird feeling when my family was busy, because I thought that I would be able to spend as much time with them as I wanted! Instead, I found my sister busy doing homework and studying for her upcoming exams, my mom attending numerous meetings at the school, and my dad going at work. It made me appreciate the time that we spent together during the past years of High School and before.
I am also glad that I will be spending my entire summer with them, trying to make as many memories as I can. I know I will miss them next year, but thankfully with applications like Skype, I will be able to talk to them every week (or day)!
4. Study Hard
All during High School I worked diligently; I always studied and tried to do my best. I was like this because I (thankfully) visited New York City at the end of my 8th grade year. The atmosphere once again enchanted me, and I realized that I could not slack off if I wanted to live and be successful in New York City when I was older. After that visit, I was a changed student!
Being a Senior this year, I know it is easy to obtain “senioritis”. Some fellow classmates even caught it in their Junior year! The situation was even more difficult to avoid for Seniors who would be attending universities in the United States, because “IB test scores did not matter”. For me though, I wanted to work hard and not put all those years of studying to waste. I studied up until the last day of exams, particularly because my IB exams would allow me credits at New York University. I wanted my two years of hard work and hundreds of hours studying to be worth it!
The main reason I am glad I worked hard all throughout High School is that I now know hard work definitely pays off.
I am extremely blessed to have been able to travel a lot in the past four years (and previously). Moving to Abu Dhabi made it easier to travel as the city, along with Dubai, is a travel hub. Because travelers come in and out of the two cities every day, it was easy to find flights to almost any place in the world!
My favorite aspects of traveling were not only being able to see beautiful places with interesting cultures, but also spending time with my family and teaching others about new cities. Traveling also helped me in a few of my classes; after visiting Vietnam I understood the Vietnam War and was able to participate more in my History class’ discussions.
Having traveled, I feel as though I can better relate to the people I meet from those places. I am going to New York University, which has students from all over the globe. When I meet a student from a country or city I have visited, it means I can easily have a conversation with them about tourist attractions I saw, or ask them questions I had about the culture. It also helps that I am very curious about new customs and traditions, and want to learn as much as I can about other countries!
"EDUCATION IS NOT FILLING A PAIL, BUT LIGHTING A FIRE." ~WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS~
Overall, I had a wonderful High School experience; I made lasting memories, worked hard, and had fun. The main point is that: I definitely made High School worthwhile.