My time here has been packed. Recalling all these years I've spent at this school, I've been trying to be someone better. I studied till late hours even on the days I didn't feel like working; I did more than what was expected from me in both academics and sports; I beat myself up trying to just accomplish something a bit more (as I thought I could have an easier time later)...
But looking back, none of those means that much to me. The thing I am most proud of myself for is that I learned to leave time to think more about my life, sought experiences, and took chances (online lectures, track, basketball...) Those are the things I do purely out of interest without any coercion.
Of course, I left some good stuff behind me, things that I didn't have time for. I could have learned the piano, read more books, had a few more relationships... I definitely don't feel like it's too late to learn those now, but it's certainly not the best time (a lot more things going on at this stage of life, no more chances of performing in front of my school fellows...).
- Warrior Temperament
One day when I was reading on Quora, there was a post, 'what are some things mentally strong people always do?' The first answer was saying that, in order to keep sanity while striving, we should set boundaries and never expect too high. Without a proper destination, it's hard to take pride in any good doing.
"A harmless man is not a good man; a good man is a very dangerous man who has that under voluntary control" – Jordan B Peterson.
But Greed (one of the seven deadly sins in the bible) is a natural instinct. For the billionaires on the Forbes list, is there really a point where they'd stop? Hardly. "When that day comes, I will stop what I am doing and enjoy my life." Nearly everyone wants to be richer after reaching their set goals, even when the number is more than 'enough.' Similarly, for people like us who are achieving, once we get our dream place, we'd probably desperately want to go somewhere higher.
“Aggressiveness is a stance towards life that rouses, energizes and motivates, it pushes us to take the an offensive and to move out of a defensive or holding position about life’s talks and problems.” – 'King, Warrior, Magician, Lover.'
“All men by nature desire to know.” – Aristotle
I've always wanted to live by ideas, not just by instincts or inclinations. Philosophy has made me a better thinker; it gives me the gift of asking questions along my life journey. I started to ask "why" about the source of every prevailing assumption (beliefs, justice, existence...). Seeking ideas about human nature gives me direction on how to live a good life.
Sometimes I find it hard to talk about deep, meaningful topics with my peers. It seems to me that there's no sense of wonder and curiosity in them. But I have to accept differences; if everyone had the same opinions, thought and acted the same, the world wouldn't be an interesting place.
- "Work hard and you will get what you want!"
"Talent is hitting the target nobody else can hit, while genius is hitting the target nobody else can see." – Arthur Schopenhauer.
It's a popular belief that hard work pays off. And indeed, it does. Achievement doesn't come instantly, and hard work is non-negotiable for people who want to succeed.
Regret stings, so I told myself 6 months ago that "the only way to not leave any regret is to put in your full effort. No matter how tough it's gonna be, see pressure as your motivation." Now, I still believe in that idea, but I also want to say that no matter how hard you've tried, there's always a time you can question yourself: 'I could have done more.' We can't possibly be satisfied regardless of the process; we have to learn how to be content.
- The Unexpected
Life isn’t a game; it’s a series of games, and the right ethic is to be the winner of the series of games. The part of that means you have to learn how be a good loser because you’re not going to win every single game! – Jordan B Peterson
Many things happened this year; one of them is that I singlehandedly got rejected by 22 colleges. Truth be told, when the results came out less than I expected, I felt disappointed. I wanted to know why life couldn't be easy on me. Sometimes I feel like I did better than other people, but the treatment I got was unfair.
For quite a long time, I was a person with resentment; I blamed the unfairness of the system, the lack of help from my parents and teachers, thinking my failure must have partially been their fault. But complaints don't work, habitually whining about the uncontrollable variables gave me nothing more than just stress.
If I have learned something, that is self-awareness. I learned to accept my unfortunate and let it go. I knew it'd be better to move forward and make what I have control over better. I told myself: "opportunities are everywhere; if you just believe in yourself and your dreams, you can go out there and achieve great things..."
"One definition of a winner is someone who never let losing stop them." – Jordan B Peterson.
Adversities are hard to deal with. For a short while, I found it hard to pick myself up. But pain is necessary for us as humans to develop and grow. The terrible feeling that I got from those failures was so beneficial, I learned a lot more about who I am, and the loss made me rethink what I am actually looking for in life.
If there were one thing that definitely went right this year, it would be that not once did I criticize myself for lack of anything. While people were saying I was chasing a fantasy dream, I never thought, "I can't do it," because I am not afraid of failure. I learned how valuable it is to endure hardships. Through hardships, I can find my weaknesses; if I face them honestly, small improvements will be made through dedication and perseverance.
Self-esteem builds beliefs. In the end, I learned to be forgetful of my misfortunes. I can't just keep judging myself and grappling with the past; it will waste all my brain space and energy. With a 'bad memory,' I could make more space for the relevant.
"How do I feel of my time here?"
When I first arrived at Wycombe Abbey, I could barely speak English. As time went by, I knew I was getting better when I started to gain validation for my work. I knew I was getting better when I saw sleeping as a reward rather than a punishment. And I knew I was getting better when I stopped caring about other people's life (watching those college reaction videos of others getting into Harvard on social media often made me feel like I was not good enough).
Apart from some bad decisions I made throughout time, Y13 was a turning point from which different dreams of mine opened up. I began to think about starting counseling, writing a book, and enjoying the most outstanding education with like-minded people who are also doing many great things. There are so many opportunities waiting for me; I will probably be confused at times about which door I should choose!
- Still got a lot to learn
Once I step out of China, I will be no different than any other kid – in a far country on the other side of the planet, exposed to a new outside world, facing entirely different cultures, political ideologies, and possibilities. I need to see this as a chance to grow, keep an open mind, be a chameleon and adapt to my surroundings.
I understood that I came to this world to serve, and everything I gained in knowledge and experience should be in some way given back to my community. While striving, building my own significance isn't enough; I have to encourage others and help them do better. We've all got something to teach others, so take the approach that 'I can learn from everybody.'
"If anything adversity has taught me in the past, is that when times are good be grateful, when times are bad be graceful." – Dustin Poirier
There are countless great memories others and I had. I gained courage through challenging myself (academically, physically, and mentally), I faced and got over my fear of how others would judge me, and I acquired the right attitude for life. Would I be happy to stick around? Of course, but I also think it's time to leave the familiar behind and move on.
Commitment teaches me never to take a 'no' for an answer; there's always a way to get the right solution. I believe that every individual can make a difference. If you have the energy to drive your passion into action, there can be a whole new world out there.
- Walk the Path
Over these years, I've been inspired by many others and shown the path in front, but I still have to walk it myself; I've talked about a lot of empty cliches here, but without following them by action, they are meaningless.
Making everyone happy is impossible; there are just so many distractions all of us are exposed to. We should limit those subjective criticisms around us from drowning out our inner voices. When you choose always to remain calm from those negativities and focus on your priorities, problems can seem a lot smaller than we think they are.
Every stage in life is a challenge. I see so many people are so concerned with the destination and unconcerned with the journey. Along the path, there will be different routes, and changes will need to be taken, just like experiments. So be fearless, follow your gut, keep moving forward and live on; there is no end.
Life is not divided into semesters; it's very unlikely in real life, there's going to be other nice people who will help you with your tasks at the end of each term. But after experiencing the lows and the highs, many people have played a significant role across my time here, and I appreciate all these little moments I've had from day one until the final. I will always remember where I came from, my past, and my journey. I used to be a boy who was ranked at the bottom of the entire year group, but I made wise choices and strived...