Senior reflection: The illusion of success


submitted Clarissa Wong

Clarissa Wong, Profile Editor

Even in this time of premature nostalgia, if someone were to ask me if I would ever miss high school, my short answer would be “no.” But my relationship with the past four years is significantly more precarious than any one-worded response.

In retrospect, I realize that I was always someone who looked forward to whatever might I might encounter in the future. For me, there was rarely a definitive now, but rather an inevitable later that became my sole incentive to do well in life. I doubt I’ll ever look back at my high school years and associate them with the phrase “glory days,” simply because I never stopped staring at the clock to actually notice what was going on around me.

I’m sometimes appalled by people who say they enjoyed high school. After all, what was there to love about endless trails of tedious work and lists of unfinished tasks? I distinctly remember the end of the first term during freshman year, after which I triumphantly calculated that I had completed 1/16 of high school.

I put a lot of work and effort into high school. But for what? For a long time, I thought it was for college. But what came after that? And then after that?

I approached school as if it were a rewards system – if I did the work, I could reap the benefits in the future. Obviously, this idealized version of life doesn’t coincide at all with reality. Nevertheless, I had crafted my very own illusion of success.

There’s no promise that I’ll succeed as I had hoped for my future self during my freshman year. The struggles that I’ve encountered in the past will undoubtedly show up again, only in more threatening and malicious forms.

In some ways, I still am the same person I was four years ago. For one, I still look forward to the future – college, medical school, the life that lies ahead of me. Perhaps I have learned nothing from my failures. But in a slightly more optimistic sense, I’m still the same in that I’m essentially oblivious to future adversities and because of it, I’ll continue to push for success – whatever it may be.