Senior column: Josh Chou


Or, the obsession with maintaining it, I guess, might be what turns some of the most stringent perfectionists into flagrant procrastinators; any little deviation from a pre-portioned schedule causes them to give up entirely on getting through a day’s workload.

My first two-and-a-half-ish years of high school more-or-less resembled that at the macro-level: poor decisions made early-on led to, for lack of a better term, spiraling. My inner critic never went away either, always telling myself that I had wasted another semester, but that my time to thrive would arrive with the next. Of course it never did. I was perpetually (and frankly sometimes still am) unable to be satisfied–nor did I think I ever had a reason to be–and constantly contemplating like everyone has, “What’s the point of it all anyway?”

Despite becoming increasingly disillusioned about education, government and institutionalized religion, I retreated socially and intellectually, never putting my buzzing opinions and scathing criticisms into action, or opening up to more than one or two people at a time. Moreover, I made more than a few decisions I’m not proud of but found necessary at the time–and to anyone who I hurt with my ignorance, there’s nothing I can really tell you except that I’m truly, truly sorry.

Still, there were a few decisions that I think were sound enough: leaving unsafe environments, growing away from people who traded empathy for their egos, and perhaps most importantly, learning when and how to cut my losses. Piece by piece, I began to forgive myself, but realized too late that the contentment I was chasing by running away from what made me uncomfortable could really only be achieved by embracing it, and accepting the results regardless.

I didn’t really like high school. Even now, after finishing senior year and getting into schools that I’m still shocked decided to take me, I would probably (foolishly) trade those acceptances to rewind the clock and instead experience four years of mental stability and–dare I say–blissful ignorance.

But I guess that’s not how it works. There’s no equivalent exchange for time I’ll never get back, no matter how enticing future fleeting highs may feel. And even with the time I do have, I’ve figured that not everything can be processed, finessed or even forgiven. More often than not, there’s nothing to show for standing toe to toe with yourself and coming out on top, except for being around to do it all over again. And that really, really sucks. But choosing to go forward with each day, trying to let go of what I couldn’t change and gritting my teeth through the worst, has gotten me–no, all of us–here and still alive to this moment, hasn’t it?

And maybe that was the whole point after all.