Students of Irvington High: Arista Zhu

“This year was just so unpredictable because I didn’t expect sophomore year to be so difficult. It was a big difference from last year and previous school years, when everything was a lot easier and more relaxed. Going into sophomore year made my life turn a different direction because it was just unexpected workloads and homework and tests. However, I also had a lot of good experiences: over the summer, my parents allowed me to go to New York for three weeks to visit my brother, but he worked. As a result, I was pretty much alone for most of the time, and got the chance to explore by myself. I learned to be more independent, and how to navigate, not only through a new place, but also through the public and how to interact with other people. It made me feel more confident in my interactions. 

I was really introverted. I didn’t really like to talk to new people. New York, however, kind of forced me to speak with others. It’s a scary place to be in sometimes, so I learned how to ride the subway myself and ask people for directions. I discovered that people were a lot more friendly than I thought they would be. I was more social and willing to talk to other people. There’s really nothing to be afraid of- I was always so upset and worried that other people would judge me for what I was saying, or think of me as stupid, but New York really helped me break away from that fear, and I’m really grateful for that.

I also made it into an orchestra that I’ve been trying to get in to for the past few years- I finally got in, because of a lot more practice and dedication to my instrument: the cello. I think it was mainly that I’ve been playing for a long time, and I’ve also wanted to get in to this orchestra for a long time as well. 

On the other hand, my cat got sick and I got really freaked out because the vet told us to get surgery, but that’s really expensive. We decided that it would be the last option, so I did a lot of research and I figured out there were other ways the vet didn’t tell us that would be cheaper. They’re really effective, and she’s getting better.  I’m really grateful that she was not seriously hurt, but this event also taught me to cherish people, animals, whatever or whoever you value. Losing my cat would have been the first time that I would have dealt with loss on this level, and it really scared me- going forward, I am learning to be grateful for all the time I have with my loved ones. And I also learned that my goal in life is to be an independent woman.”