Letters from the Co-Editors (Tram Ahn Tran)

|| By: Tram Ahn Tran ’20 ||

As I sit outside on a breezy afternoon, a cup of hot tea in my hand, staring at the sunset sky, I remember the words of my mother before I left for boarding school. Her hands holding mine, teary eyes in the parking lot of Dell, and telling me: “promise me you will take every opportunity that comes your way.” At that moment, I simply nodded, not understanding the extent of this phrase.

In the past three years whenever I thought about those words my mother left me, I simply thought she meant academic opportunities like grabbing that chance to get on the Dean’s List or joining clubs to fill the ten extracurricular spots on my Common App. 

Throughout my years at Hill, I would always tell myself  “I can’t wait for senior spring. I’m gonna do everything I didn’t do in my past three years then.” This was my method of motivation to get through all the lonely afternoons eating alone in my room instead of going to the dining hall so I could cram in that last mock SAT before study hall or the late nights of reviewing before a test. This was my excuse to sit in the basement of the library on a sunny Sunday afternoon or skip the Pep Rally to finish my essays. I never lived in the moment and always looked to the future. All the opportunities that Hill gave me, I pushed aside to achieve my dream of entering a top college. I thought I had all the time in the world to do all these traditions, activities, socialize, and be happy later. 

After all the times of pretending like I had all the time in the world, I had missed out on the real, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities Hill had to offer, meaningful relationships, and memories that would last longer than an acceptance letter. The cup of tea became as bitter as my emotions. I had not fulfilled the promise I made to my mother. 

At times like these, I am reminded that Hill is what you make of it. I am reminded that time is a social construct and it is what you make of it. I am reminded that all those moments I wished for the future, I forgot to live in the present. 

The overused and so-last-decade acronym, YOLO, suddenly became what I defined that promise as. As my time at Hill comes to an anticlimactic end, I urge you all to take every opportunity that comes your way. You never know, a pandemic might happen tomorrow. And suddenly you could be whisked away from Hill, wishing you could turn back time to go to that pep rally, to sit outside on the quad with your friends, to stay late in the dining hall socializing or to say thank you to your advisers, coaches, and teachers. Don’t wait for happiness – be happy now. You only live once, so live your life at Hill to the fullest.