So you may remember that back in April, I wrote a post aimed at my fellow bloggers who either just graduated or will soon graduate from secondary school. (For American teens, this means they just finished their senior year of high school. In other countries… well, it varies.) I was looking for people who would be interested in writing collab posts about their school/graduation experiences.
I did a little introduction for each blogger last time, so I’ll do that again. Stacy doesn’t post very often, but whenever she does I absolutely LOVE her posts. F, meanwhile, writes super cool posts about feminism and religion and politics… and since we’re from different countries, her perspective on various issues is usually a bit different from mine, which always makes for interesting conversations!
Anyway, I’ve rambled on for long enough. Enjoy!
Future plans: Go to the University of Utah to major in English and minor in business, and then get a job in book publishing or at the library or something else entirely
Memories & Moving On
I want to talk about high school for a moment. From cooking vegan cookies in a solar parabolic cooker with my friend for physics class, to making my school’s literary magazine after a stressful month or so. From my ballroom class and the crazy antics that happened in there to the senior dinner dance where my friends and I danced to songs like “Uptown Funk” and “YMCA.”
From hiking in the dark at a party that was held at the school president’s house to writing a letter to future me in ten years at the senior sunrise. And from being around friends that I’ve made over the last two years and getting them to sign my yearbook at the yearbook stomp to graduating with the four hundred or so seniors at my school.
High school has been fun, stressful, annoying, and joyful to a certain extent. And honestly, I wouldn’t trade that for the world.
Except maybe college where I’m most excited to meet new people; create new opportunities that will hopefully better my future; go to the plays, museums, and sports events for free; take fun and challenging classes; and learn more about myself.
However, with all that excitement there is also a bit of nervousness. Such as, how will I juggle with school, homework, and a part-time job? What should I say when I go talk to a professor? How do I socialize around large or small groups of people without looking like a giant awkward (aloof?) dork?
However, I plan on doing all that by getting out of my shell by joining a few clubs like the Asian American Student Association and a yoga club, talking to one of my professors once a week, and organizing my time schedule so I’m doing a little bit each day which will help with avoiding all nighters.
And honestly, I’m freaking out about college more than being excited for it, mainly because of financial problems. However, everything will eventually work out in the end. And to all those starting college or a new school, smile and saying hi will get you somewhere in life.
Future plans: Studying Languages at whatever university will have me
Here in Ireland, our upper secondary school (LC) is a two-year course, so starting the last year (LC2) really just feels like a continuation of the LC1. On the first day, we were all given a study planner and told we would be given four hours of homework per night, and twelve hours at the weekend. We were told to “prioritize study” and give up any non-study related activities. This, in the first hour of the first day, was when the countdown to graduation began.
Thankfully my parents are reasonable humans and acknowledged that I couldn’t just study all day, everyday, so I did visit quite a few colleges. I think most of the readers of this blog are in the US where there are hundreds of universities, but here we have just seven. (There are trade schools/regional colleges as well.) The universities only look at your final exam points – you can’t send in a resumé or use previous test results – so this is why the year is so focused on study.
Every university course requires a set number of points to do it, and the points vary depending on demand – so popular things like Medicine, Pharmacy or Dentistry are impossible to get in to, because status + money + bragging rights = very high demand. However, that “based on demand” thing can backfire sometimes. Believe it or not, it’s actually easier to get into Law than PE teaching in Ireland.
Visiting Trinity College
Luckily we’re a small country so you can go “there and back again” to literally anywhere within a day. My friends and I visited almost all the universities because it was an excuse for a day away from our parents telling us to study. One Saturday morning in December, my friends and I got the 7 AM bus to Dublin and went to the Trinity College open day. Trinity is in the top one hundred universities in the world and offers notoriously “esoteric” and “refined” (read: “esoteric”) degrees such as “Ancient Medieval Culture” or “History of European Painting.”
The first thing I noticed when we arrived was how cloistered Trinity was from the rest of the city. It was started as a safe-haven for Protestant intellectuals in the 1590s, when Britain had a colony in Dublin, Ireland. The native Irish clans (who lived a very Game of Thrones-esque life) used to invade Dublin quite often and terrorize the British, so everyone had to be on guard. There is an old law that students of Trinity must carry a sword at all times for this reason. It is also legal for archers to shoot Catholics from the Trinity bell tower if there is an invasion.
We went to a few lectures, talked to students, and then went to do some tourism in Dublin. We went to O’Connell Street mainly, which was full of Christmas carollers, screaming children, tourists in horned hats, and one strange guy dressed as Batman who passed me an empty paper bag and said, “Anything for you, my dear.”
Choosing A Career
All my friends want to have sensible careers, like teachers, nurses, assistant teachers, or assistant nurses. I just want to set out on journeys by starlight and feel the pulse of life – what’s the point of doing something you don’t like to be stable when life is such an unstable thing and you could be dead tomorrow, having fulfilled nothing? I shouldn’t waste time doing things I don’t want to do, when the reward is getting to do more things I don’t want to do. What’s the reward? Only being free when I’m too old, disillusioned and tired to do the things I wanted?
I picked up a few of the Trinity College student publications, as I want to be a hippie who lives at demonstrations and goes to human rights protests after college – which my father says is not a suitable career aspiration.
My list of desirable careers
- Au pair
- Travelling poet
- Starving artist
- Children’s author
- Free The People activist
- One of those people in comment sections who became a millionaire doing surveys online
My father’s list
For months I was sure I was going to apply for Law at Trinity but recently I changed my
mind. Dublin is an outrageously expensive city, and there is currently a housing crisis.
People cannot afford to buy so a huge number are competiting for rental properties. People have even started renting out bunk beds or “rooms under the stairs.” #HarryPotterLife
Now I think I might do Languages. (I have until July first to change my mind because it’s a state-centralized application system and the state always does everything at the last minute.) I currently speak four languages but it’s my goal to travel the world, work with the EU, and experience different cultures, so I feel this is the right path for me.
Our graduation day was “totes emosh” but being in a school with people who say “totes emosh” with a straight face made me eager to leave it behind. The first half of the day was classes as normal; the intention was to bore us so much that we wouldn’t have the energy to pull any pranks. In the last class our favourite teacher went out to the car to get us some sheets, and returned with a tray of cakes! We didn’t give him a signed photo of ourselves with the caption “our totes fave teach” for nothing.
Our graduation ceremony itself was quite boring: We got lectures on keeping up our moral standards, being on time for our exams (which are after the graduation for some reason), remembering where we came from, et cetera. It was quite an anti-climactic end. Then, we had two weeks off of school to revise for the exams – which last for THREE FREAKING WEEKS.
After that, I’m staying in bed for a week, then my friends and I are going on a bus trip around Ireland before I have to volunteer for the summer. What then? Life begins, I guess. I’m nervous but ready to leave the simulated reality of exam preparation behind, and embark on the wild road that is Life.
P.S. Fun fact: “Parents, our Business exams were graded the same weekend ecstasy was legal in Ireland, and I only got a C. That examiner was clearly high.”
Has anyone here recently graduated? Or will you do so quite soon – midway through the year, perhaps, or next summer? If you’ve already graduated, what was your favorite part of finally finishing school? And is there any advice you’d like to give to Stacy and F?!