Bittersweet Year

November 22, 2008
By Helen Koo, Los Angeles, CA

As the winter break of my final year at Reed rapidly approaches me, I can't help but to hit the 'pause' button on my flurry of activities, step back, and say, 'Woah!'. The fact that I'm an eight grader has now set in--the fact that I'll be leaving next year hasn't. I'll be leaving and never coming back for another year.

The phrase 'time flies' has never rung out as true to me before. I always thought, 'nonsense,' and that if anything, time moved much too slowly for my tastes. But now, I'm feeling those same words painting themselves onto my life's canvas.

When I first came here, to my beloved school, the place was an amazing, huge palace for me, full of unexplored venues. Now, two and a half years later, I've fallen into a regular, mundane pattern that's like a second nature to me, made to fit myself into the interwoven tapestry of this place's everyday wonders.

I've spent five years in elementary schools, and two years here. The strange thing is, I feel so much more attached to this school than I'd felt towards my elementary school. Perhaps the fact that we, my friends and I, have gone through so much more hardships and precious, irreplaceable events together has something to do with it. Each year, each trip, either to Yosemite, or Catalina, is like an entire album, filled to the very last page with moving, black and white shots of our early teen years as we cried, laughed, and most of all, grew up to become who we are. As we matured--together.

To me, Reed is where everything began, and now, it will be where everything ends. Or is it the other way around? Its where anew story unfolded before my very eyes--the story where I was the author. The only tale where I took the storyline and ran with it, threading myself into the scenes. I chose the cast for this amazing movie, and I scripted my own lines.

In sixth grade, and in seventh grade, I'd watched eighth graders cry unstoppably on their graduation day, and I'd always wondered: 'why?'. They would finally be rid of this place where harsh memories of countless projects, tiring homework, and imposing tests had been dropped so casually unto us. Now I realize: all these hardships are but tiny stones that come together to make up this entire cobblestone path we've paved until now. We go along and we chisel away at uneven edges, trod over small blemishes, and build as we go along.

But now, I look forward and see: my pathway isn't complete yet. Rather, its far from complete; I haven't even reached the middle yet. When I finish my second semester, and as a result, my life at Reed, a few more miles will have been added to my pathway. After four more years, another patch of freshly-laid stones will amount up to a whole sea-length of road.

Despite all this, I will one day walk backwards down this pathway, deep into memory lane. I will walk through the weeds that have overgrown the path, and I will find this particular area that spans three years. There, I'll find a forgotten, but clearly solid, time capsule. It'll be full of my wonderful years at Reed, and I'll experience this bittersweet year again.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Nov. 27 2008 at 8:04 pm
I love the ending! It really portrays the term 'bittersweet-year!'


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