The California Academy of Mathematics and Science. The 3rd best high school in the state. The 22nd best high school in the nation.
In my parents’ opinion, “You can’t go to Carson High because we don’t want you to become a gangster or a prostitute. We don’t care if your friends are going there.”
Since my 2nd brother applied and didn’t get in, Mom and Dad had a vendetta out that sis and I would go there. Being the youngest of four sucks when the first child is the black sheep but has the cool social popularity, the second child is a math wiz, and the third child is a book-smart engineer. But that’s a whole other story for a different series.
What’s interesting about CAMS is why my parents wanted me to go and why I went. They wanted me to follow in my sister’s footsteps: 4.0GPA, robotics engineers, quiet, reliable, blah blah blah. I went there (notice how at that time it wasn’t want) so that I could out-do her. Yes, I understood that going to and doing well at a top tier high school would get me a better chance at going to a top tier college. Yes, I understood that I am my own person and should not live in her shadow. Yes, I understood that I couldn’t get out of her shadow if I were doing the same things that she was.
But what was my takeaway from being a small fish in a pond instead of a big fish? I found my passions. Working hard always came naturally to me, so obviously CAMS fit into that part of my life goal. What’s more important than the 6:30am basketball practices, 7 hours of classes each day, 4 IDPs, 5+ hours of homework every night, late night basketball games, robotics, and everything else, is how close I got to my siblings.
Well, this was originally supposed to be about the trials of high school, but I guess that I am going to talk about this story. I guess the trials of high school will come with robotics.
Anyway, my family is disconnected. Bro and sis, I bet that you’ve thought about this too. We all have singular relationships. Generally, we all can’t be in the same room together. The funny thing is, I can have a conversation with each one of my family members without it ending in an argument. Being the youngest is truly a treat.
Oldest brother and I share sociability. My friends seem to run with his friends. We share the same music taste and love for street/urban culture. 2nd brother and I share the love for basketball. Sis and I shared a room for 16 years so we actually share the most views and habits.
As my siblings went to college, high school became the time that I got closer to each of them and also became independent. Oldest heard about how the family was doing through me. Being the black sheep, I think he really cherished our relationship. The most heartfelt moment I had with him was actually when I was applying to colleges. I was super nervous about my MIT interview and he was the one that said that he was proud of what I had accomplished so far, that I’d be the one to make it. To this day, I cherish when he helped me move into college and that he always tries to have lunch or dinner with me when I’m in town. He keeps me grounded.
2nd drove me to basketball practice everyday for two years. He taught me how to drive. He went to my basketball games. He’s the one that showed me what it meant to have those small conversations and to also continuously try to get better at a skill. I’ll always miss waking him up at 5:45 am to drive and talk or just see him cheering me on in the stands even if I didn’t get any playing time.
Now, sis, here’s the person that showed me what it’s like to become fully engulfed in something. I always admired her concentration and dedication to her crafts whether it be math homework, designing, drawing, or what have you. I discovered my appreciation for engineering and innovation through her. Without her, I probably wouldn’t have joined robotics or ultimate. And for that, I’ll be forever grateful.
Even though I took aspects from each of my siblings, I became independent. I ventured more than my siblings. I traveled more than them. I joined more clubs and took more risks.
High school was supposed to be the time that I set myself up for college and greatness. I guess that it was just a time for me to find out my passions and who I wanted to be.
Now I’m not sure where I was headed with this segment, but I feel like I should end it in some prolific way. Well, I guess it’s this, usually you spend high school sheeping- you’ll be part of a clique or you’ll do stuff simply because your parents say you should. Now, that’s all fine and dandy, but why is it important to you to sheep? I think that I was sheeping around because I really didn’t know what I wanted. I just needed to keep busy. Because I kept busy, I didn’t realize what I was really doing, how much effort I was really putting in, how much I was growing. Maybe that’s the point. Busy work may be the best training time I ever got.