More from the Class of 2021 Series:

“Hi! My name is Mine, and I joined Sacred Heart in freshman year (2017)! I will be attending either King’s College London or the University of Edinburgh; both to study psychology! I kind of wanted to get out of Japan and experience living alone. London and Edinburgh both have a vibe that I can only feel when I’m there, and I have been waiting so long to become a college student so I can’t wait for September. I hope to study many different aspects of the subject I’ve been crazy about for a while now, specifically related to cultural effects on mental health, and also hope to be engaged in some academic research!  COVID-19 hasn’t affected my decision for university directly since I already had a pretty set idea of wanting to go to the UK from around Grade 10, after having been there two summer schools in a row. But because of COVID-19, I had time to explore more universities online and ended up applying to some I wasn’t thinking of at first. Also, because of COVID-19, I was forced to focus on studying for the SATs during the summer, which helped me get a score I wasn’t imaging getting, allowing me to apply to some schools I thought were out of my reach!

Although it is difficult to think of a single ‘best’ memory at ISSH, one of the highlights of my high school life was going to watch the sports games and cheering for the Symbas. Coming from a Japanese school, I always dreamed of the atmosphere of HS sports games I was exposed to through TV shows and such. So, the first time I went to watch a volleyball game after my tennis practice, it felt magical. Since then, I made sure to be there for almost all the volleyball and basketball home games, as well as some of the soccer games (it helped that I live close to ASIJ). I can’t say that it was the best choice I made; I’m one of the people living farthest away from school and when I came to school by car, I had to ask my father every time to stay until the game finished (which obviously could go up to around 9 p.m.). 

I think the reason why I was so hooked by sports games was that I felt like I belonged in that specific community the most. The only sport I did was tennis, which isn’t necessarily a team sport, and I was always doing singles. Don’t get me wrong, the tennis team definitely was tight and it will always be my favorite team no matter what. But as much as I loved tennis season, I was always sad that we didn’t get the same hype and excitement that happens in the gym with all of us shouting from the bleachers. So to feel like I truly was one of the Symbas, I couldn’t resist going back there no matter how busy I was. And because of it, I know all the rules, cheers, and chants to sports I never thought I would be interested in! Using my love for sports games, I was also able to join the team of managers in the 2019 volleyball and basketball seasons. I definitely wasn’t a great one, but the thrill of being responsible for the games happening right in front of my face was phenomenal. 

Symbas games are for sure one of the things I missed the most this year, and now that I’m graduating, I’m going to miss them even more. I hope to come back one day in the bleachers, eating something unhealthy I can get from the concession stand, and shout out “BLUE AND WHITE” until my vocal cords are destroyed. 

Excursions weren’t my favorite events because of my terrible social anxiety. But if I were to pick the best it would probably be Grade 9. The walk around the beach and the ferry ride on the second day were so fun with all of us singing together on the deck. Our hotel was so good too, and so was the view from the balcony!

I am thankful for the counselors— Ms. Dega and Ms. Fisher— for helping me through HS which I can say was a very rough patch for me. I am also so thankful for all of my teachers who always made sure to help me, ever since I was the new kid with really really bad English skills. 

I also want to thank the AP Capstone course for allowing me to find a passion as well as giving me a place to explore a said passion. My future plans, so far, are based a lot on my experience in AP Seminar and Research. 

You might be having a blasting HS life or you might not be. Although my 4 years at ISSH were indeed fulfilling and life-changing, I obviously can’t say that the rough patches were not big. But even with those rough patches, I am now to the point where I am so thankful for every inch of my experience. What allowed me to get there is some things being depressed taught me. 

One piece of advice is that everything WILL be fine even if you feel like your life will be over because of academic stress. I want everyone in HS to know that this school really does have a high academic standard, and we all tend to stress over academics more than other people (this is something all the graduates have said to me after going to college). I won’t say “don’t stress” because that’s dumb advice, and you can’t control it when you’re in that environment. But do allow yourself to breathe sometimes. Because of depression, I struggled to get in some assignments at one point and I felt like my life was going to end just because of that one chemistry lab. It didn’t. I’m here doing just fine with a satisfying path for my future. 

Another thing depression made me realize is that the feeling of happiness can disappear. Because I had a period of time where I couldn’t remember what happiness felt like even though I was in a happy situation, I really tried desperately to make each moment count when I could before I lost that moment. And guess what? The COVID-19 period at home wasn’t as hard for me because I knew I tried my best to have fun when I could. 

Our Symbas community really REALLY is a special one, and I want everyone to know that. You have great teachers and classmates; you’ve got to take advantage of them. 

I’ll really miss this community so much, so feel free to reach out! :)” — Mine