Junior year by numbers

By Sam Adams

In the nine months since the start of junior year, I have filled out exactly 4,138 multiple choice bubbles. I counted.The College Board and all of its affiliated examinations are the primary culprits behind this alphabetical abomination, subjecting yours truly to a seemingly endless deluge of As, Bs, Cs, Ds and Es. But let’s save my thoughts on this cruel, sadistic, superficial organization for another time.

Between the all-important GPAs and SATs, the APs and ACTs, what better way is there to sum up the penultimate high school year than cold, hard statistics? After all, everything in high school seems to boil down to a number anyway.

Let’s start off low: three. That is the number of sleepless nights that I spent writing and generally procrastinating this past year. I’ve retained a few things from these nocturnal jaunts; the actual coursework, for the most part, is not among them. I discovered the victorious feeling of watching the sun rise over a completed English essay. I have felt the subsequent agony as fatigue sets in fourth period the following day. I have bonded with my brothers-and sisters-in-arms, commiserating with one another as a deadline approaches and the night wanes.

Try this stat on for size: 7,486, the number of milligrams of caffeine that I have ingested since school started. It’s a nasty little habit that I’ve picked up thanks to this year, but I’m kicking it starting now; I promise! I have successfully avoided shaky hands, paranoia and the other hallmarks of the over-caffeinated teen, but my liver and I have reached an accord on the issue.

I could name five of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points, 24 of the amendments to the Constitution, the three rules of continuity and the four stages of economic development. I could not, however, tell you the last time I’ve read a book for pleasure during the school year.

Had I taken the 658 hours I spent putting off my work and gotten a minimum-wage job anywhere in the great state of California instead, I would have made $5,264. According to my calculations, my procrastination alone cost me a 2008 Vespa LXV motor scooter, brand new! But it’s not all bad: if my Facebook page is any indicator – and I submit that it is the true measure of relationships – I have made 132 friends in the past year. I recognize 94 of them by face, would feel comfortable greeting 63 of them on the street, and have fond memories with 46 of them. Eight of my digital chums, I hope to stay close with for the rest of my life. Junior year was hardly a solitary journey. We have made it to hell and back, our camaraderie only reinforced as a result.

And in the 374 days that we have together as a class, I hope that we continue to get even closer. At the end of the day, what’s the point of racking up these endless and ultimately insignificant numbers, the 2400s and the 36s and the 5.0s, if our sense of community gets a perfect zero?