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Why I’m still not ready for anything: a follow-up after 10th grade

Art by Brett Corpuz

I haven’t written an article in a while, but I’m glad to be back; and other than becoming a junior, not a lot has changed. I’m still full of anxiety, still catastrophizing every second of my life, and still don’t know how to drive. But if there’s one thing that’s definitely changed, it’s that life got harder. So. Much. Harder. Welcome back to my venting session.

One of the main things I was worried about going into 10th grade was taking APs. I ended up taking AP Chemistry that year, and it was… an experience. Did I pass the class? Yes. Did I pass the exam? Absolutely not. Was it a mistake to take the class without taking the normal class? I don’t know. Jumping into chemistry (or really, any subject) this way definitely has its challenges, the biggest in my opinion being pacing. In most AP classes, you are not taking a gentle stroll through the material. It’s going to be fast, as you need to learn everything in time for the final exam. So in other words, it’s less of a stroll and more like a fast walk through a sketchy neighborhood full of stray cats and broken glass while barefoot. Does this get stressful at times? Absolutely yes, especially in the second semester and/or if you’re taking other APs. Fortunately, I had a good teacher and a lot of close friends in the same period as me. Those friends definitely helped me get through the stressful times and get over the fact that I spent $96 on the test. So that’s my one school survival tip: a boring class or a class you hate can become better with the right people.

But AP Chemistry was just dipping my toes into the pool. Now I’m taking four, so this year will be even more fun (in fact, I’m writing this while in AP Calculus).

Photo by Brett Corpuz

Another thing that began during my 10th grade year was my involvement in school sports. I joined the tennis team… actually, I don’t remember when I joined the tennis team. It was honestly all a blur. One minute, my friends say they’re joining tennis, and a few minutes and one email later, I am too. Next thing I know, there’s a racket in my hand and I’m practicing over the summer. And soon after, the school year is starting and I’m playing tennis every other day and eventually every day as my season approaches.

I like to think of tennis as a bit of a happy accident. It was a very impulsive decision, but I don’t regret it, and I’m glad to be returning this year. I highly recommend joining a sport, especially with other friends. You build such a close relationship with the entire team, and while the first weeks may be rough, nothing beats the feeling of competition against both teammates and opposing teams. And while I didn’t get much play time as JV last year, those little bits of competition were like drops of nectar on a parched tongue.

As I continue to write this article, I’m starting to realize how pivotal my 10th grade year was. By taking that one AP class and randomly joining a sport, I’ve learned what to expect from each. So for once in my life, I feel prepared. I know what I’m doing. By taking risks and going into things with an open mind, I’ve become a knowledgeable, reflective, and in some ways principled individual. It’s almost as if I’ve come to learn my orientation in space and time, as well as my identity and relationship to others.

That last sentence is a lie, I don’t even know what it means. But in all seriousness, I do feel prepared to some degree. Yes, I know that this might be the hardest year of my high school life, but I’ve accepted that fate once again. Send in the curveballs, I’m ready! At least I think I am.

And hey, at least I’m not taking DP.

Photo by Brett Corpuz - “We’re already on this path, we might as well stride” - a prophet, a wise man, a close friend

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