I was Dumb Last Year, I will be Dumb this Year

Marcella Park

I always think the same thing when I look back on the past: “Wow. I was kind of dumb last year.”

Let’s start with sixth grade, when I was a plain dork.

Then in seventh grade, I looked back on sixth grade, saw my dorkiness, and decided I had to change that by ditching my dork friends.

In eighth grade I realized that abandoning my friends had made me a jerk and an even bigger dork. That was a decent period of my middle school career. In ninth and 10th grade I was overall clueless. I only knew that I had also been clueless in eighth grade for thinking my middle school life was all there was in this giant world.

In 11th grade I knew how to handle my classes and extracurriculars a bit better. I was glad to be over the whole transition into high school and spent most of my time working away at academic papers, newspaper articles and choir pieces.

At some point this year, I realized I was still clueless in 11th grade, though in a different way – I was unnecessarily afraid of upperclassmen and too absorbed in my work to remember to smile at people once in a while.

And soon I bet I’ll realize how naïve I was (am) now.

When I was little, I thought high schoolers were soooo grown up, but now I’m leaving high school and don’t feel like an adult at all!

Sometimes, even now, I sit still, close my eyes and try to summon magical personal growth from within me. It’s funny though. I’ve grown the most at times when maturing as a person was the last thing on my mind.

The first time I put off an English paper (it was on “The Scarlet Letter,” and I had to write on the whole book) until the last night before it was due, I couldn’t think of anything else but finishing it. But my dad told me, “Hey. At least you’re alive and feeling this stress and exhaustion instead of dead and feeling nothing. Enjoy it.” I didn’t remember it until I had submitted the essay to turnitin.com minutes before my class started, but this lesson largely carried me through the inferno that was junior year.

One summer, when I found out that two of my favorite classes conflicted, all I could think about was making my dean (shoutout Mr. Jones!) fix it. Through that experience I learned eventually that I couldn’t have everything I wanted.

And I never knew prom could be an educational experience until I found it to be the grueling though fun process that it is. There was drama about every possible decision there was to be made, like my dress and who I went with and my friends’ dates and the group I went with and where I went afterward.

I guess eventually it’ll be easier to make decisions like that. I guess they call this growing up.