Senior Reflection: Joyce Yang


Photo by Joyce Yang

Seniors Jahnavee Chakravarty, Esther Pustylnik, and Nicole Riba enjoy a final night as seniors at senior sunset on the Frost Hill.

If I could name this school year in seven words, it would be Things that happened that I never expected. Whether it be the college I would end up at, the relationships I’d foster, or even what color my hair would end up with, not a single thing was on the to-do list of Joyce Yang at the start of the fall semester.

All of summer 2022, I’d dreamed and envisioned a perfect senior year full of perfect events and perfect people. I even made a Pinterest board, for god’s sake. But truth be told, little to nothing can simply be manifested from page to reality, just like the past tumultuous nine months that spell out my senior year.

My first big heartbreak or my reality check that nothing would simply fall into place as easily as I’d imagined, was my rejection from my early-decision school. Rejection never comes easy; but rejection from a school I’d spent the past six months fantasizing about, plotting out my city storyline, and picturing life as a student at NYU, was earth-shattering. There are several articles on Common Sense on the complete and utter lottery the American college application process is, but no amount of consolation can truly amend the drop of the heart at seeing a simple “we are unable to offer you admission at this time,” cementing my entire life trajectory in a sans serif font. I like to think it worked out for the better, though; I moved on quickly to my second-top school, the University of California, Santa Barbara.

As the year comes to a close and I’ve settled with a commitment to UCSB, I’ve never been more content with my school choice and twists of fate. I truly do believe that what is meant to be will be, and California is nothing but the most optimal environment for me to grow to my fullest potential.

Somehow, even after three years for some, and six for others, high school in your senior year is still a breeding ground for some of the strongest relationships you’ll have. I met two of my closest friends just this September, yet in the span of a few months they’ve managed to intertwine their presences into the roots of my life and I can’t imagine life without them.

This year has been one of the most grueling, unpredictable and stressful years of my life; but all the mistakes I made in between and the different paths I ended up on have made me emerge from the safe bubble suburban Maryland provides and readier than ever before to quite literally book it across the entire country and pursue a life that is uniquely my own.