© Isa Lu
Topsail High School

My expectations for life in general

High school is a great time to really start thinking about the future.

“What do you want to be when you grow up? What dreams and aspirations do you have?”

“What do you mean you don’t know? What do you find interesting?”

Chances are you’ve been bombarded with all these questions ever since you were very young. Regardless of whether or not you were able to give a satisfactory answer, you’ve probably thought about college at least once. But when I say high school is a great time to really start thinking about the future, I’m not just talking about college. I’m also referring to the long and often overlooked decades that come after you graduate from college. Now that I am halfway through high school, what are my expectations for life in general?

I don’t expect life to be easy. No matter what path I take, I know that I will continue to face hardships and challenges, and they will be just as difficult as the ones I’m facing right now. Life is full of hurdles: some of them come from all directions, while others can come at the worst timing possible. If we can overcome these trials and not be beaten by them, then that’s one step closer to where we want to be.

This is a lifelong process that each of us is facing. Sometimes we will have to make tough choices. I hope I won’t regret the decisions I make. It’s funny how whenever I look back to my younger self, I always want to go back. Back to middle school, when I didn’t have to worry about college. Back to the good old days, when I didn’t have homework. Even back to preschool, when I didn’t have to worry about anything.

I expect life to be a fruitful journey. A lot of the older generations have said that each of us has a purpose here on Earth, and the reason for our existence is to complete that purpose. I haven’t figured out what my purpose is yet, but I do know that I want to continuously learn new things— from education, friends, peers, myself, and the world. I don’t want to live a dull and monotonous routine day after day; I want to go out and explore what the outside world has to offer. Oftentimes you don’t realize you’ve been living inside a bubble until you step out and take a good look at it. As a high schooler I’m currently trapped where I am, but in a few years everything will be different.

I expect life will be unpredictable. Like many others, I have learned that things don’t always go as you planned. I’ve been through many experiences where I was disappointed at the final outcome, but now I understand that what happened should have happened. Because of my losses, I have gained new opportunities and experiences I would otherwise never imagined. I accept change. I’m not afraid of the unknown. I have learned to embrace the uncertainty of the future. Wouldn’t life be boring if you knew everything beforehand?

The real question I have is who will I be when I grow up? What will my life look like? What college and career did I ultimately choose? Where will I end up? Will I still have the same friends? Who will cross paths with me? What are they doing now? Will I ever accomplish my dream?

This is the enigma that I’ve been trying to solve all these years. I have a certain curiosity about the future. All I can do now is watch and see how this all unfolds—like the morning fog that creeps in the shadows, waiting for the mystery to be unveiled.