If you’re wondering why I decided to say hello in Thai, it’s because I’m currently sitting by the pool sipping coconut water on the ever sunny island of Koh Samui in Thailand. Okay, so I’m actually sitting in my hotel room, but very soon I will be lounging by the pool with all my friends, getting tan (er, burnt to a crisp).
Reason for being in Samui? Two words: grad trip! That’s right, I am now officially a high school graduate, with no exams, lessons, early mornings, evil teachers, and undone homework to worry about. It’s that gorgeous phase between high school and university, where we don’t really have that many cares in the world (other than the impending doom that exists alongside results day, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it).
So whether you’re on a grad trip like me, or simply enjoying the free life with your friends, congratulations! We made it!
But the real reason I wanted to blog now is because this is my first true taste of independence. Actually, the last year of high school comes hand in hand with being independent, to be honest. The difference is that when I was filling out my Cal application, I may have been doing everything on my own, but there was always the safety net called my parents. I cannot tell you the number of times I’d freaked out, convinced that my application was rubbish, that I was going to miss the deadline, or that I’d filled in the wrong thing (hey, sometimes those forms are hard for international students!). Without fail, they’d sit me down and convince me my application was brilliant, I had another two weeks before the deadline, and the Hong Kong postal service would understand if I wrote flat “4108” instead of “Block 41, Floor 8”. But here I am, sitting in Thailand with zero safety nets. No one to tell me I’m wasting my money on summer dresses that would be worn once in a year, or to tell me I’m not eating healthy.
In my mind, this is kind of what Cal will be like. For once, I will be in complete and utter control of my own life, and I am terrified. But what’s life without a few mistakes here and there? So what if I mixed the whites with my red t-shirts? Okay, so I’d have pink clothes for a while, but I can deal. My point is, independence is both terrifying and exciting at the same time. Being an international student makes it somewhat harder, while some of you can go home over weekends, I’d only be able to see my home every four months. But that’s what independence is about, and I’m sure I’ll have people to rely on if times really become rough. So while I sit in Thailand, sipping my coconut water and slathering on sunscreen like there’s no tomorrow, I constantly think about Cal will be like and how I’m going to live without turning into an absolute slob who can’t cook. Just today, I joined a Facebook group called ‘Secret Berkeley’ where people share their favourite hole-in-the-wall spots around Berkeley, and I cannot wait until I know enough to post my own little insights on that group.
Freedom + independence = amazing vacation. There is no doubt in my mind that while Cal is not by any means going to be a vacation (I looked at my classes the other day… somehow four classes feels like forty!) it is going to be absolutely amazing. I don’t know about you guys, but I know I’ll trip and stumble at a few points, but the fun is in getting up, laughing it off and moving on.