Jonathan’s Journal: I’m grateful…


Credit: Theo Ghosh

In the latest installment of Jonathan’s Journal, as the college application process comes to an end, reporter Jonathan Zhang emphasizes the importance of finding a coping mechanism.

Jonathan Zhang

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, economic, political and social struggles ran rampant throughout our nation. The chaos of this pandemic has changed many aspects of my life, but these changes only served to emphasize my own privileges.

These privileges quickly became apparent to me, especially at the height of the pandemic—my parents’ job security during a time where many struggled with unemployment, securing a date to get my driver’s license during a time where many vied for the few available spots or my friends’ and family’s health during a time where a rampant disease affected many throughout the world.

Rather than simply focusing on the different things that I’m grateful for, I want to give thanks to the people that make my everyday life possible. I also don’t want to focus on the more obvious reasons for why I’m grateful for the people in my life. Instead, I want to express my appreciation for the obscure yet essential components of my life made possible by the people in it.

It’s college applications season. Personally, I have always wanted to go to college, and I’m really excited to continue my academic journey, meet new people and cultivate new experiences that broaden my horizons culturally. As such, college applications have become a big part of my life as of now. As the first reader of all the essays I’ve written, the raw and honest feedback you give (though I may disagree at times) is something that I’ve come to appreciate.

Mom, this past year has impacted you a lot, and I have seen it firsthand. I won’t go into detail because I know you like to keep your personal life private. However, I will say that, this year more than any other year, your contagious desire to believe in the greater good while still being realistic is something that I admire and look up to every day.

What’s up little bro? This past year you have turned into someone I can consistently count on—a source of comfort, a tennis hitting partner or someone to hang out with. People often find it easier to say no to those they don’t know, and I think all the yeses you have given me is a testament to our bond. I know that if you are reading this, you’ll probably find it cheesy, but next year I’ll be in college, and sometimes it’s the cheesy moments in life that we remember the most. By publishing my gratitude for you, I hope it becomes something you never forget, even when I’m miles away from home.

WHS Teachers:
To all my past teachers, current teachers and teachers that I haven’t met, on behalf of WHS, thank you. I can confidently say that each and every one of us students has been positively impacted by your dedication to our success and happiness this past year. There is something to be said about the work you put into creating daily lesson plans to help further our education, and I can’t express my thankfulness enough.

WHS Custodial Staff:
Always present and working before I arrive and after I leave school, you are all some of the hardest working people I know. From the water bottles that are replaced all around the school to the trash and recycling bins that are magically emptied, I want to let you know that all of WHS acknowledges your efforts. Furthermore, your kindness to us students in the hall and your enthusiasm throughout the entire day goes beyond anything any of us could ever ask for.

WHS Staff:
I’ve gotten to know some of the WHS staff pretty well this year because of the occasional college interview that coincides with school, an injury I had in soccer and my involvement in numerous extracurricular activities. Following an interview, I was always welcomed warmly by the staff in the front office. During the times that I forgot a mask or suffered an injury, the school nurse always catered to my needs. In every interaction that I have with the staff at WHS, I’m able to feel that the person I’m talking to genuinely cares about me.

Soccer Team:
There are some moments of my high school soccer career that I’ll never forget: the absolute adrenaline rush after making varsity, banging on the seats, the twilight practices and more. But it’s the bonds that were created during the wins and losses, the shared sufferings and joys and the time we spent together that I’ll cherish forever.

Tennis Team:
My tennis journey has not been easy, but going into this next season, I can still remain hopeful. Despite all the loses and the upsets, I still have faith in our team’s ability and chances at winning a state championship. Tennis is a very individualized sport, but in high school, it becomes a team sport. For teaching me this, I have each year’s seniors and upperclassmen to thank. It’s because of the work they put in individually to benefit the team that we were able to achieve what we did. It’s because of their leadership and perseverance. It’s because of their support and care.

Piano Teacher:
Dina, I have been taking lessons with you for nearly a decade now. It’s really crazy looking back at what we have accomplished. And I say “we” because it was you who helped me grow both as a musician and a student. You showed me the fruits of meticulously practicing endless hours of scales and cadences as well as how devotion and resilience will lead to reaching goals beyond my imagination.

Lastly, to all those people in my life that I haven’t mentioned yet, I am grateful to you as well. One way or another, whether it was a conversation we had or a seemingly irrelevant interaction, you helped make me into the person that I am today. Thank you.