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Class of 2018: Time to write a new story

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When opening up one of our first assigned books of freshman year, A Tale of Two Cities, most of us didn’t realize that the message on the very first page could describe what the next four years would be like: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Over the years, we’ve read books with diverse themes and backgrounds, which offered many messages that pertain to the journey we’ve gone through since first walking into Baldwin High School.
Freshman Year
As newbies in a new building and environment at Baldwin, we rushed through the hallways looking for that hidden room number, waited in lunch lines for what felt like decades, and were subjected to these mysterious assessments called “midterms” and “finals.”
Our lives were full of chaos and confusion as we navigated ninth grade to discover Baldwin and ourselves. It wasn’t often that we had a moment to pause, rest, and fully take in the joys of our first year, until we read Tuesdays with Morrie.
The book looked simple, with its plain cover and small size, but taught us more than we expected to understand about life, friendship and values. Many of us were like Mitch in the book: overworked, stressed and ignorant to our surroundings.
Mitch’s journey to reconnect with his dying college professor forced us as busy freshmen to ponder the ways in which we too had ignored the significant people and things in our lives. Tuesdays with Morrie was the most the most profound book of freshman year, with lessons and precautions we’ll take far beyond Baldwin.
Sophomore Year
Even though Henry V was a Shakespearean play pertaining to a prince, there were similarities to our high school lives.
In the prequel, Henry IV, young Henry spends most of his time partying and enjoying the privileges of having no responsibilities. This is similar to our first two years of high school, in which most of our time was spent enjoying the stage between adolescence and adulthood as Henry did. However, when his father died, Henry had to leave his childish ways behind and grow up to become king. For all of us the time to grow up would be just ahead in junior year, when we would have to start thinking about the future and what we all eventually wanted to do with our lives.
That road to the future would be long and filled with applications, SAT scores, and indecisiveness. It was the first time that we all realized adulthood was right around the corner. And as intimidating and grueling as that was, we survived and matured into adults, as Henry did.
Junior Year
Some could say that The Perks of Being a Wallflower embodies quintessential high school experiences.
At first glance, the book seems to focus on an underdog’s journey to blossom and explore friendships in his final year in high school.
However, underneath those appearances, the book was an unprecedented representation of the alternative lives some of us led. It was different from a lot of books we read, in plot and cultural references — and it was relatively new.
The book gave us a view of high school students who didn’t adhere to the status quo in music taste, dress and views. Many of us were able to relate to the characters, making the story more than an English requirement. Seeing high school students like us thriving and enjoying life outside of traditional high school experiences inspired us to act, think and be our genuine selves.
Senior Year
Some people can look at Macbeth and just see a blood-filled tragedy that does not pertain to life in any way. While making skits and writing essays, students could lose the resemblance between the play and our lives.
All that Macbeth wants is to be king. He believes that once he reaches this goal, he will have everything he has dreamed of. But his struggle for power harms everyone around him, leading to tragedy.
This is a lesson we must understand as we go out into the world. No matter how large our dreams are, we cannot step over or hurt others to obtain them. If we reach our goals but compromise our values, then we have not won. We can strive for what we want in life, but we must remember who we are in doing so.
Even if we cannot remember everything that we learned during our four years, we were helped by what we read without us even knowing. We were able to grow as people through the messages we learned.
And when we finally throw our caps in the air, it’ll be both the stories that we read and that we created that matter the most. For this is not the end of the story, but the beginning of a new chapter.

About the Writer
Zoe Vongtau, News Editor
Senior News editor Zoe Vongtau is a third-year staff member who does not want to say how much she spent at the merch booth at the Harry Styles concert. She will, however, spend hours recommending that you listen to Rex Orange County and try her salmon recipe. An activist by day, and napper by mid-day,...
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Class of 2018: Time to write a new story