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The Perennial

The Perennial

The Perennial

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Cheng’s Advice: The Memories Are Worth It

Leela Jarschel

I’m in a loud, brightly lit In-N-Out, sitting uncomfortably in the very corner of the booth. I can feel a dull pain in the front of my head from having worn undersized goggles for the past three hours. I’m surrounded by a group of fellow seniors similarly clad in swimming gear, and we’re noisily debating the best plan of attack for our Senior Assassin target. I’ve never hung out with all of these people in a group; we aren’t in the same classes, we’re not in the same clubs or sports teams and we have virtually nothing in common. Yet, we’ve just spent our entire Saturday night driving together all across town, toting around our water guns and laughing about our ridiculous, failed attempts to assassinate our classmates.

It’s moments like these, where I stepped outside of my comfort zone and went out spontaneously rather than studying for my calculus exam, that I will remember about my high school years. I am a person who usually likes to plan things ahead of time, often because of how anxious I become when things get out of control. My high school experience was, to say the least, not anything I had imagined for myself. I started freshman year on Zoom, got sick with mono my sophomore year and went to school with 37 other kids in my grade for my last two years. There were countless times I stayed in to study rather than go out to experience life. There were countless times I felt like I was utterly failing and utterly alone.

But the one lesson that I have continually been reminded of is this: it is okay to stumble, to fall, to lose control. I say that with the presumption that you will do so, because you will. Take it from someone who spent most of her life denying it: failure is inevitable. Things will get out of your control, and guess what? You will be okay. You will move onto the next class. You will play the next game. You will find another friend. The world will keep spinning, and you will be okay.

I suppose this, then, is the advice I’d give to my younger self: you can’t spend your whole life staying at home, thinking about theory and meaning. You have to surrender control. You have to go out into the world and see for yourself.

A few days ago, I was set on not playing Senior Assassin, but I’m so glad I paid the $10 entrance fee an hour before the deadline. Even though we didn’t get anyone after three hours’ worth of work, the memories were worth it.

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