An air of impending doom. A cloud of mystique. A hazy fog looms over it. Like the sirens in Greek mythology that lure sailors to their death, Bellaire High School entices students to four challenging years, all together a hopefully less fatal destiny than that of the sailors.
Upon mentioning that I attend Bellaire High School, I usually receive an audible gasp, followed by a “wow!” and then perhaps a sympathetic look. Next comes the interrogation. Are you in the top ten percent? How many hours of homework do you have per night? Is it difficult? What kind of classes are you taking? Et cetera, et cetera. People seem to be in awe of the legendary Bellaire students.
I, too, admit that I was once apprehensive about attending Bellaire. Sure, I had the sound foundation of an elementary school education in Sugar Land. My concern lies in my less than stellar middle school education, which I had received while living in California. Don’t get me wrong, I did learn; I just learned more about life and less about Texas history, a course supposedly taken in seventh grade.
School started, and I found myself adjusting to the rigors of high school. To put it simply, Bellaire High School is not that bad. It is not this huge school with creepily over competitive students who study all night instead of wasting hours sleeping. It is not a whirlpool of only the less friendly elements of life: stress, tears, sleep deprivation, time-consuming work, no fun and relaxation. It is not.
Then again, nor is it one out-of-control, never-ending party. The school does have a reputation for producing excellent students. The Bellaire High School name is recognized by admissions officers at prestigious universities, such as Columbia University in New York City. Thus, Bellaire does require work, discipline, time management, and dedication. Most importantly, though, those four years at Bellaire are a growing experience, a time of discovery, and a preparation for your future.
There is no secret to succeeding, no game to win. The key to finding your place in high school is to try.
Try joining clubs and activities such as sports, band, yearbook, and newspaper. Bellaire has approximately 100 clubs, and if all of the clubs fail to pique your interests, start your own club. Join a few clubs that interest you, and stay involved in them. In the beginning of my freshman year, I joined dozens of clubs, but only stayed involved in a few. Clubs enable you to not only get involved in the school and community, but they allow you to meet new people and help to exhibit your qualities as a person.
Try taking advanced placement classes. Do not be discouraged by other students if they tell you that the day you pass a certain class is the day pigs will fly. My AP/IB English 3 class taught by Ms. Quaite was rumored to be impossible. Friends who had other English teachers coasted through their class, which upset me sometimes. Why should I have had to work twice as hard? I consoled myself by realizing that I was learning more, that I was learning from one of the best, and I eventually grew to love the class. In fact, I learned more from that class than any other English class I have ever taken.
Try. Even if you do not think you can achieve it. I was so convinced at the end of my sophomore year that I would not get into National Honor Society that I almost did not apply. However, my mom and aunt convinced me to apply anyway, and I got accepted.
Try. Even if you are unsure of what you want. I became somewhat distraught when people kept asking me if I knew where I wanted to go to college and what I wanted to study. If I could not even decide what to eat for breakfast, how was I supposed to know where I wanted to spend the next four years? How was I supposed to know what I wanted to study, which would ultimately decide what I was going to spend the rest of my life doing? How was I supposed to make such a big decision? In the spring of my sophomore year, however, I joined the school’s newspaper, The Three Penny Press. Becoming a part of the staff turned out to be one of the best experiences I have ever had. Not only did I discover a hidden talent, it allowed me to meet unique people, and through writing, I learned a lot about myself by being able to express my thoughts.
Take it from someone who only recently discovered what she wanted (for now). Take it from someone who does not spend all of her time studying and doing homework. Take it from someone who is still surviving.
Editor’s note: Katharine Lau will be a senior at Bellaire High School and is entertainment editor on the school newspaper, The Three Penny Press. She enjoys horseback riding, reading, and writing.