Friends make school a little bit better. (Photo courtesy of Virginia Sun)
Valencia High School

Opinion: Books are my calm in the chaos of school

I hate school. I’m aware that hate is a strong word and should be replaced by “dislike” or “detest.” But, the truth is, I really hate school. I hate waking up early after only getting a few hours of sleep following a long, tedious night of doing pointless annotations or repetitive math problems.

I hate going to school knowing that the anxiety I get before every test or participating in class will hit me like a harsh slap on the face. Although I’m blessed to have friends to keep me company as we all go through this endless tunnel of misery, I still struggle to find joy in school. However, there is one thing that makes me hate school only a little bit less — books.

As I’m still situating into junior year, the reality of growing up is really starting to hit. Growing up in an Asian household, I am constantly hearing “You need to go to an Ivy League University okay!” and “Why do you have a B in this class? Do you need tutoring?” Yes, the stereotypes are very, very true, and yes, they stress me out very, very much.

As I struggle trying to get a “high-enough” SAT score (a 1600, in my mom’s point-of-view), I am also reminded that life is not always about 5.0s and community service. Although getting good grades is important for me to be successful, the relationships that I make are just as important. 

I was never an avid reader despite my mom nagging me to read more because it would expand my “non-existent vocabulary” (my mom always yells at me like this, it’s a normal occurrence at this point in my life). As I grow older each year, I realize that with the overbearing loads of homework, there is no time for me to pick up a book and read it for fun.

Because I don’t read often, my reading pace is also extremely slow. On average, it takes me around 30 minutes to read five pages of a book. Clearly, I simply don’t have the time to read for fun, unless it’s for homework. To put it in simpler terms, I read because I am forced too. Strangely enough, I actually enjoy being forced to read.

Sophomore year was my worst and best year. There was so much going on in my life that I had hit an all time low and was ready to give up. In my opinion, language arts class really pulled me through. The pieces of literature that were assigned to us were indescribably stunning.

“A Separate Peace,” “Fahrenheit 451,” and “Macbeth” were among my favorites. Every day I would go home and read the assigned chapter (sometimes even more) with such bliss. Reading pulled me out of the deepest darkest corners of life just like how it did for Montag in “Fahrenheit 451.”

This year, I will be reading books like “The Great Gatsby” and “The Stranger.” Words cannot describe how excited I am to read these literary masterpieces. I am excited to be whipped away into a completely different world and to explore the characters (and also because we don’t have to annotate anymore). 

Because of reading, I can gladly say that school is not that bad.