What Have I Learned?

With this post, we say farewell to 2014.

This is one of those rare years when the passing of the year is overshadowed by another event, namely, my graduation from high school. This blog was created with the intention of chronicling that transition, but there have been many forays into other areas, ranging from an ill-fated fiction periodical to a lengthy investigation of the physics of airplanes. Along the way, I chronicled a Spanish choral tour, the premiere of an indie rock musical, and a family reunion in the Windy City. And unlike one of my cousins, who has found out where he will be going to school next year (congratulations), I got into college the same year I started attending it.

The first thing I learned is that I never realized how obsessed I was about getting into college until I was done with the whole process. I noticed upon coming back to Palo Alto that I no longer saw Stanford as “the promised land.” It was simply another school, albeit a bit more familiar than most. The crazed atmosphere of achievement and college admissions is something I’m glad to have left behind. Unfortunately, I will probably have to live through the crazed atmosphere of achievement and medical/law/graduate school admissions.

Going back to the beginning, many of my earlier posts were about me and the things that I like or like to do. I think I was trying to create a time capsule of myself during the last months of high school. As I read through some of the earlier posts, I’m struck by something I can’t quite put my finger on; the closest word to what I’m trying to describe is probably naivete. My writing seems more confident, more declarative. One thing I did learn is that I can keep a New Year’s Resolution, at least for a year.

With Meditations on a Diploma, I moved into another summer and a new era. “Meditations” is one of my favorite posts, because when I read it I’m reminded of the quiet joy I felt during that time. I am of the firm belief that the summer after high school, particularly if one chooses to go to college, is a time of amazing opportunity. One thing I took from the summer of 2014 was spontaneity. Body of Water, and to a certain extent, Spain, was the result of a choice to do something without an end in sight. Sometimes, it’s nice to simply experience events, experience life. Towards the end of my summer, I was fond of taking random walks around town. Freedom was nice. On the other hand, Sacred Road taught me the pleasure of seeing other people as an end. If freedom is nice, living in that freedom for the service of others is nicer.

The end of summer brought on the beginning of WuToWu, which, for good or for ill, has become the primary purpose of this blog. Through it, I kept up with my sister and learned that she has a strong writing voice. In her posts, I can hear the trials of sophomore year and the moments of reflection and hilarity. In my posts, I can hear the return of obligation, responsibility, and  occasional craziness. The world’s bigger in college, and I’m even more uncertain of what I should do with my life. Thankfully, I know my family will always have my back. WuToWu, and the weekly video call session have taught me that.

Summing up a year is hard. Half of your mind is in the present, and the other half is trying to emulate the state of mind you were in when you wrote that post about being short. The last take-away from this experiment is that “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” (Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)

See you all in 2015.

Source: George He Photography

Source: George He Photography

Curtis Wu

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