College Commitment Day – 2020

Senior+Emma+Chen+%22poses%22+in+front+of+WCHS.+The+Class+of+2020+was+unable+to+physically+show+off+their+post-high+school+plans%2C+like+most+classes+normally+do+on+May+1.+

Emma Chen

Senior Emma Chen “poses” in front of WCHS. The Class of 2020 was unable to physically show off their post-high school plans, like most classes normally do on May 1.

By Emma Chen, Observations Editor

Sitting in the hallway of WCHS, a 14 year old Emma Chen listens as her lunch group talks about their future. She boasts that she has her life planned to the very last detail. From becoming a senior attorney at the ACLU to raising two adopted kids in the suburbs outside of New York City, she had it all figured out. After school that day, her mom picked her up to go to her therapist’s office due to the panic attacks she got at least once a week. Following that appointment, she would procrastinate until she crammed five hours of homework into thirty minutes of rushed work at 2:00 am. She definitely did not have it all figured out. 

Since then, everything has changed. Okay, maybe not everything. My dream career is still with the ACLU, and I still want to raise two kids outside of the city, but practically everything else. My friend group changed, as most of ours do in high school, I no longer see my therapist, and I can much more confidently say that I have very little figured out. 

Once I came to terms with the fact that obsessing over every detail would in fact, not make my life better, I developed a much healthier mindset towards school, friendships and life. 

I have never been great at STEM. My mom double majored in Math and Physics and my dad majored in Computer Science, but somehow I’m a humanities person. Refusing to get any help for classes in which I was confused was incredibly damaging to my mental health. I didn’t want to admit that there was something I couldn’t do or accomplish on my own. Eventually, after being scared straight by a horrible grade on a test, I caved and got a math tutor. This ended up being one of the smartest decisions I’ve made in high school; it was me allowing myself the freedom to spend more time on the classes I love.

One of these classes was the J. This is an amazing group of students. Genuinely some of the best people I have met in high school. I’m not sure if it’s our passion for journalism, or the fact that we practically have 45 minutes everyday to just catch up and talk, but something about this class hosts an incredible bonding factor. 

Academically, the J developed my writing skills immensely and spurred my passion for Journalism. However, the impact that a community like this has is so much more than academic. Being able to have a period for three years straight, consisting of mainly the same people has been a true lifeline throughout high school. I challenge anybody to find another classroom at WCHS that has as much noise–made up of laughter, debates, and my outside voice–as the J. And it is my personal belief that noise and happiness in a class are directly correlated. 

While going through the ups and downs of high school, the J has been a necessary constant. Sure, the differences in my sophomore year J class and my senior year J class are obvious, but the feeling of support found in both of them is the exact same. Studying for math (among other classes) with each other has become a common practice before assessments, and I can say without a doubt that asking for help is a whole lot easier when it’s from people like the ones found in the J. 

Yet the J is just as much outside the classroom as it is inside it. These friendships did not end after the bell telling us to go to our next period. They did not end after the last page was done in prodo. And they will not end when we all leave WCHS. These friendships were not forced, not predicted and certainly not typical. They are unlike any other high school friendship. We are all so extraordinarily different. I am confident that because of this–because of how unique a group like us is–these friendships will last. 

To conclude, my time both at WCHS and in the J has taught me a few very critical things. One: you will never have everything figured out, and not only is that okay, but it’s completely normal. Not a single person does. Two: one of the few things you should have figured out is that you will be bad at things. Not all things. But you will definitely be bad at some things. And once again, not only okay, but completely normal. Lastly: lean on the people around you. Your family, friends and classmates. The people with which you surround yourself are in your life for a reason. Whoever you can rely on, do.