Jessie Lee, Class of 2021 (UC Berkeley 柏克萊加大 US #20 )
August 12, 2018

Dear future seniors, 

I remember stepping into my first year of high school as a carefree and naive freshman. What did I care about grades? Life was about gaining a spot in the coolest clique or impressing those seniors who never deigned to approach us. Why work hard when I had the option to relax and spend quality time with my friends? “Grades don’t mean everything, and college ranking does not affect future success”, I repeatedly asserted to myself. I was terribly mistaken. Sure, the college you attend does not automatically guarantee whether or not you will succeed, but a great college will provide you many resources that will foster your aspirations. Not to mention, you will be surrounded by peers who want to succeed as much as you do, and they will propel you to reach your goals. 

To those who are already devoted to academics, keep going! And to others who have not yet developed the passion or drive to work hard, please do! Trust me, your hard work will pay off. It is very important to keep that GPA up, despite how many sleepless nights the effort will cost you. I understand that some of you have temptations that nag you, such as watching your friends hanging out while you’re confined in your own room, cramming for that AP test. Afterall, who doesn’t prefer relaxation to strenuous studying? The bottom line is whether or not you’re able to delay your reward. You could savor the enjoyments of high school and not give a rip about grades, or you could delay your reward, enter a prestigious university, and take full advantage of its overflowing opportunities. The choice lies within you. While grades do matter, developing your own personality is equally important. 

Colleges love to see talented students, not clusters of identical nerds with 4.0 GPA yet without distinct character traits. Be engaged in school activities and expand on your extracurricular activities. Johnny will gladly assist you in finding your passion and making you a well-rounded and balanced student. I’m sure of this because he has been my guide as I’ve transformed from that ignorant kid without a sense of career direction to a goal-oriented individual with talents in cooking and leadership. Listen to his advices and follow his SAT preparatory techniques. Yet in the end, I must state again, the choice is yours. Please do not be the one to reflect back on your four years of high school with regret and self-loathing. Change the “if only I had”s to “I’m so glad I”s.