‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’

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 Today is a significant day.

It is the last official day of schooling in my K-12 education. I will never again attend first through seventh period. Today, for the last time, I will walk through the gates of Schurr High School at 7:15 a.m. and leave at some point after 2:45 p.m., as has been my regular habit for the last four years.

There is much that can be said and yet cannot be, due to various conflicting reasons, emotions, and, of course, space constraints (I could probably fill a whole issue of the Spartan Scroll with my reminiscences.) However, I’ve written a few remarks that I hope you, my faithful Readers, who have kept up with my musings for a year, will be able to take to heart and think about.

I remember the first day of high school. I was completely overwhelmed. Coming from Macy, a school with perhaps 400 students, to Schurr, a school with 3000 and counting (this number has since dropped), I was intimidated and wanted only to return to the relative comfort and smallness of middle school. I had forgotten that three years earlier, I started sixth-grade at Macy and was overwhelmed by all the new faces, as I had come from an elementary school outside the district and knew absolutely no one. I could not comprehend the vastness of it all, the confusion.

It’s interesting to see how I have changed over four years. Today, I look upon Schurr with familiarity: I know a sizable number of teachers and students, know many nooks and crannies of this school, how things generally work to get things done. I’ve been at school much too early and later than I care to admit, for the infamous journalism late nights and once, for a certain CSF project that shall remain unidentified (it involved one thousand small, annoying puzzle pieces.)

All these little memories – from journalism, CSF, NHS, Spartans of the Plume, History Day, and my courseload have all formed memories that I will not easily forget. These stories are important – they are why I am who I am.

The Nigerian author Chris Abani once said that stories were the main way that humans kept their identity. “What we know about how to be who we are comes from stories. It comes from the novels, the movies, the fashion magazines. It comes from popular culture.” I believe he is right. In life, we all want to ultimately find happiness. Happiness is best found through experiences—memories that we form, through others or by ourselves. Money, fame, fortune – these pass, but feelings, love, emotion and memories stay with us, forming indelible bonds that cannot be erased.

This is why reading is so important. “There is no Frigate like a Book to take us Lands Away,” Emily Dickinson once declared. She wasn’t wrong. Novels, good ones, have the power to show us how others live, how best to deal with situations, how to confront love and death, and many other important lessons that many of us could use. For example, The Count of Monte Cristo taught me that “all human wisdom is contained in two words: wait and hope.” This is not just an idle maxim—there’s something serious behind those words.

No matter how dark and helpless we may feel at times, there will always come something better. I know first-hand this is absolutely true. I met both of my best friends at low points in my life. Both of them have helped me immensely, and I have been so blessed and thankful to know them.

Just remember: everything will turn out well in the end. One must simply wait and hope. We are all lost stars trying to light up the dark, the darkness in our lives, and many of us do succeed.

If you’ve been paying close attention, all of my column titles this year have had some reference or significance, from “White Christmas” back in December, to James Joyce’s “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” to, of course, “Hamilton” in March. I was originally going to title it “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” my favorite Bob Dylan song, and also a great piece of advice to follow, generally. However, I chose this Oasis song for its idea that one should not look on the past with anger and annoyance.

Our actions, however regrettable and cringe-worthy or or brave and praiseworthy, all have influenced us in one way or another. To deny the actions of our past is to deny ourselves entirely. There’s more to it, though: I interpret it as not holding grudges or hate. The past is past – no amount of anger or regret will change it. At the same time, we cannot romanticize the past and wash over with pleasant memories that which does not deserve to be. In the end, we must treat past events fairly and equally, and use it as a focus point to look upon the future.

Don’t think twice, it’ll be all right, and don’t look back in anger. From Montebello and Monterey Park to Cambridge and Boston and beyond, I’ll be keeping that in mind. I hope you will do the same.

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