Haru Fernandez

In sixth grade, I thought that I had my whole life figured out. I was dedicated and worked hard and did all the things a studious sixth grader would do. I had a plan. I wanted to go to Yale or Stanford or Berkeley and then become a successful dentist. I couldn't wait, I was eager for my future. Just six more years. 


In seventh grade, I was optimistic as to where my future would take me. I loved math and world cultures and science class. Only five more years until I can get into a prestigious college.

 In eighth grade, I was on the right track to be what I wanted to be. I was taking high school level math courses, had straight A’s, school came easy to me. I couldn't contain my excitement for high school. Four more years after this. Four of the most important years of my life. 


Then high school actually arrived after a rough summer. I began to be in my head too much, and I thought about unimportant things like what others said or perceived about me. Unimportant things that weren’t about getting into Yale, Stanford, nor Berkeley and having that successful future. I never attended a full week, and when I was actually at school I would spend most of my time in the nurse’s office. I know it was difficult for other people adjusting, so why did they seem okay? Why were they able to function at school like normal and dedicated students? I was jealous and also afraid of people.


Then sophomore year rolled around, I quietly left freshman year behind into a new city. Covid had just started and I was homeschooled online. My grades and drive dissipated into thin air. Homeschooling was a pretty horrible decision for my academic career, and at that point I had given up on Yale or Stanford or Berkeley and having a career. Sixth grade me did not plan this at all. I let myself down. 


Junior year, my parents decided to try to get me back into school with people to interact with and a campus to walk around in. Junior year at Rhp went by so quickly. I somehow got through it and I felt that spark I used to have in sixth grade, the drive I had in seventh grade, and the determination I had in eighth grade. Now senior year. Nearing the end of the “most important four years of my life.” I adjusted and changed. I might never get into Yale or Stanford or Berkeley or become a dentist like I dreamt of. But now I can take a different route, I have the option to, and to find a different path for myself. That’s the power and beauty of a new environment and change. Thank you.


Shoutouts: To all the teachers from last year and this year, thank you. Thank you for helping me get back into the school rhythm with your fun and engaging classes.

To my friends, I feel like I've known you forever. I cherish each moment we spend together, including our deep talks, meaningless banter, and hugs.


Mom, dad. I can’t appreciate you guys enough for being my biggest supporters. Thank you.