Going into high school, I thought I’d have lots of great experiences I could look back on in ten years and laugh about. Instead, it feels like I spent most of my time living in a bubble.
Ninth grade was probably my favorite year. The overall vibe was different. Things were chill. I didn’t have to worry about graduating yet. I worried more about having fun.
A big part of that fun was my English I class. It was like I was living in a movie full of crazy personalities where anything could happen, and there was never a dull day. I was the most quiet, in-the-background character you could imagine, but never in my four years have I been worried when I missed a day, except for this class.
Then the pandemic hit. Having to wake up early on my birthday, and get on Zoom wasn’t the greatest start to sophomore year. And things never got better. I wasn’t motivated to attend classes online. I was at home in my pajamas. I wanted to sleep.
There were two good things to come from this time: anime and journalism. I actually got into Journalism through English 1. One of the “Article of the Week,” assignments we did in English class touched on the topic of gun violence. Only a few weeks prior, a close friend of my family, Z’Yon Person, was killed in a drive-by shooting. He was only nine years old.
Z’Yon was my inspiration for my response. Mr.C liked it, and had me revise it so it could go in the newspaper. This Aow is what got me into journalism, without it I don’t know if i’d be where I am today. But even in newspaper class, I still didn’t have the motivation to do as good as I could.
I’ll never forget the way my dad would look at me when he would find out I wasn’t doing my work. The disappointment on his face…man that’s something you don’t want to ever see. I felt like I failure, but I had no motivation to make any changes. Whether I passed or not I just wanted the school year to be over.
Junior year was overall better. I’d say it was the year of firsts. I did my first in person interview with Riverside media coordinator Jenna Wine about the increased rate of manga books getting checked out of the media center. It was scary, but my initial fear went away when I found out she liked manga and anime.
Having a conversation with someone who enjoys the topic you’re talking about sets your mind at ease. The interview was for an investigative report on the growth of anime fans at Riverside. Of all the stories I’ve done, this is my favorite. The pandemic introduced me and lot of people to anime. It was so cool to come back to in-person school and see so many students wearing something anime-themed.
This story took the longest to finish, but it had the most care. After seeing that look of disappointment on my dad’s face in tenth grade, watching him read that article and tell me I did good was fulfilling. Having the opportunity to write that story is something I’ll always cherish.
Looking back, I I think I learned an important lesson: take advantage of every opportunity.
Whether it was because I missed so many days, or I didn’t put in the effort I should’ve, so many field trips, advanced classes and other things passed me by.
I did more than ever as a senior. I had a blast at prom, saw a poetintial future for me at Elon University, even spoke to a published author about writing and publishing a book series.
It took too long, but I’m proud that I got out of my bubble. Learn from my experience and do as much as you can every year.