What I Wish I’d Known

A Governor tradition–Seniors reflect back on the things that might have made their time at Govs a little bit easier.

Albert Niu, Editor

After their graduation, some students find that their names stay on this campus, woven into legends, folklore, chitchats, or gossip. In my time at Govs, two such names are Tianyu Fang ’20 and Jess Choe ’22, both members of the newspaper, who still spark conversations of appraisal not only because of their extraordinary college destinations, but also their charismatic personalities, and the lasting impacts they made on the community.

One tradition that Tianyu and Jess started is to write a “What I Wish I’d Known” piece as their finale in the newspaper. Although I did not know Tianyu well and have mostly collaborated with Jess on stage, I feel obligated to continue this tradition as their destined successor. Hence, it is with great boldness and humility that I write here my own advice to those who are still making their way through Byfield.

Speak – and don’t forever hold your peace.

A new environment is daunting. Unfamiliar faces are daunting. For many, speaking a non-native language is daunting. But spoken words are the easiest way to build bridges between people, and once you open your mouth once, you overcome your demons. One of my greatest regrets at this academy is that I spent too much time Freshman year locking myself in my room binging watching The Flash (it’s a good show, but still), instead of going out to meet new people. I am lucky to have found my wonderful friends – and trust me, it is because I started to talk to them. 

Don’t feel embarrassed. It’s not a big deal.

I have stuttered wonderously during a morning meeting announcement. Called a teacher by the completely wrong name. Had pictures posted to govsalmostfriday (may that account live on). There are many moments when I thought people would burst into laughter when they saw me. But that has never happened. Remember that we are all teenagers and high schoolers, and it is in our blood to do absolutely dumb things on a daily basis. No one will remember you for it. That being said, if you are actually stupid and break rules not meant to be broken, that is a different story.

Don’t burn out before junior year – because you should start in junior year.

As a survivor of the high school – college process, I cannot stress this enough: HAVE SOME FUN IN YOUR FIRST TWO YEARS. Those are your last days as a carefree little kid. Then, starting around junior year, respect yourself and put in the work. Things begin to matter, and your future is in your own hands. Of course, I am not advocating for pushing yourself to the point of total collapse; but starting in high school, we begin to encounter tremendous stress and learn to overcome them, and such is life. 

If something makes you happy, do it.

No, not drugs or alcohol or unconsented sex. None of that. I’m talking about a new sport, a new instrument, a chance to act, to paint, to dance, to learn a new language, to join a club, to participate in an event, etc. Most things don’t work out. Things that do work out don’t end up being your entire life plan either. But you can never have too many skills or interests, so start looking for them. And don’t forget to continue your existing ones, too.

Some drinks in the bookstore are overpriced.

All my love to Chris – but this is an undeniable fact. Sometimes ordering drinks from Amazon is a better deal. 

And lastly, get some sleep.

My advice is getting shorter and shorter – I promise it is for a thematic effect, and not because I am getting lazy. Short sentence for emphasis: GET SOME SLEEP! You need it. The more the better. You can’t practice any of my other advice if you don’t have enough sleep.

Looking back at my four years, I have many regrets, but I don’t wish for things to have occurred any differently. I (hopefully) learned from my regrets, and have become a (hopefully) better person as a result. I am writing this piece not so that the reader can do no wrong; but for you to save some time making the aforementioned mistakes, and instead go make other mistakes unforeseen by me. When the sum of your mistakes grows, so will you.