Last thoughts before the first day of school

Patricia Wei, Web Director

I still remember my first day of high school, three years ago.

I walked into my advisory classroom, where Mr. Alderete gave us not only forms for claiming lockers but also packs of gum. He told us to be the people who take the last slice of pizza — the people who are unafraid to go after what they want. I remember walking into Mr. Pallone’s biology classroom, where “Eye of the Tiger” was blasting and a meme was prominently displayed on the whiteboard. I remember receiving colorful “green sheets” in most of my classes and asking my freshmen English teacher Mr. Miller: what’s tutorial?

I remember thinking it was so cool that I went to a school where people were old enough to drive, vote and even get tattoos.

I didn’t know a lot of high schoolers growing up. But in second grade, I watched the 2008 Olympics and became inspired by Shawn Johnson, an American gymnast. She was just 16 years old when she won four silver medals and a gold on the balance beam at the Beijing Olympic Games. In second grade, high school seemed worlds away, and I wondered if I could do something like what Shawn Johnson did in high school: work hard, excel at something I loved doing and inspire other people.

Monday will be my last “first day” of high school — my first day of senior year. I’m excited and terrified at the same time, but mostly excited to take on new challenges. I thought I’d offer some last thoughts for you all before school starts.


Welcome to Lynbrook, Class of 2022! On my first day of high school, my advisory teacher Mr. Alderete gave us a homework assignment for our freshmen year: try something new. I hope that’s something you’ll do this year too. By playing sports, participating in the arts and joining clubs, you’ll get the chance to meet so many great people. Unlike middle school, where you mostly hang out with people in your grade, high school gives you more chances to be friends with people from all four grade levels. Some of my closest friends in freshman and sophomore year were upperclassmen, people I could joke and laugh with but also look up to for advice and guidance. And make good use of tutorials and Homework Center! Don’t be afraid to talk to teachers and ask them for help — they are awesome people and are here because they care.


Morning of 2019 Sophomore Homecoming, preparing for the gauntlet. Photo by Riti Mital.

I hope you don’t stop exploring new activities and meeting new people. In sophomore year, with people taking classes divided into Honors and APs for the first time, you may sometimes find yourself comparing yourself to others, whether it’s by the number of Honors or AP courses you’re taking or the grades you’re getting. I struggled with this at first, but then I encountered a quote that I love: “The only person you should compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday.” Don’t ever let anyone make you feel inferior; don’t give them that power. Everyone has their own strengths and something about them that’s unique to this world. Moreover, grades and test scores only say so much about you as a student. There’s also work ethic, attitude and resilience — traits that you will carry beyond high school. After all, we’re here not to make grades, but to learn. Remember that you don’t have to dim anyone else’s candle to make yours shine brighter.


Junior year may be tough because of school and personal issues, but it’s also rewarding because you’ll learn so much and grow as a student and person. Photo by Michael Kao.

Some people like to take part in this weird competition called the “Sleep Olympics,” in which they somehow think it’s cool to get less sleep or even pull all-nighters. What’s really cool is taking care of yourself both physically and mentally. While juggling difficult classes and preparation for standardized tests, along with all the other activities you may be involved in, find ways to keep yourself positive when things get stressful. I put on a playlist of my favorite songs and jog around my neighborhood. I watched a lot of friends stress out about standardized tests, but remember to keep the big picture in mind. Keep making progress and learn from your mistakes; you can always retake them if you need to. Take time to have genuine, meaningful conversations with people you care about, whether it’s your family members, friends, classmates or teachers. Junior year has been my favorite year of high school so far. It’s a year for you to grow and mature and take risks. You may realize that you are more capable than you ever thought you were before. 


My fellow Class of 2019: this is our last year to shine at Lynbrook. Let’s make the most out of it. I feel as if I have more on my plate than I’ve ever had before, but I’m excited for the challenges that lie ahead. I hope we’ll take the time to have new experiences and to cherish the people we care about. It’s crazy that we’re reaching adulthood soon. I always liked to think that part of adulthood was working to make those childhood dreams come true. We got this.

I want to end with a poem my classmate Tanvi Narvekar wrote in Mrs. Willson’s AP Language & Composition class last year. The poem is titled “I Hear Lynbrook Dreaming,” written in the style of Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing,” and it really helped me appreciate Lynbrook. I truly feel lucky to be a student here. I am surrounded by amazing teachers, staff members and students every day. Everyone here has a unique story to tell.

I Hear Lynbrook Dreaming by Tanvi Narvekar

I hear Lynbrook dreaming, the different dreams I see

Each different is its own way but all still in unity

Those of the future doctors, each one dreaming to help others with kindness and respect

The future scientist dreaming his or her dream while measuring acid into a beaker

The future teacher dreaming to be the help that he or she received from past teachers, the future artist dreaming in the art room

The future writer dreaming while scribbling on the piece of paper, the businessperson dreaming while working

The future singer’s dream, the future dancer’s on his or her way to the studio, or to the classroom, or to the job

The ambitious dream of the future engineer, or of the future nurse at school, or the future soldier studying and reading

Each dreaming about a future that only he or she wants to have and to no one else,

The dream belongs to the dreamers- and even when the dream seems unreachable, the dreamers will dream to the fullest extent to get it

Good luck and have fun on your first day of school this Monday! I hope it will be an awesome day to start off an awesome school year.