The Last Summer


Zizhen Song

DEEP THOUGHTS Senior Sumeet Hiray reflects upon the past four years. Hiray takes long walks in the nearby park as he sorts through his thoughts. Hiray says, “We have all changed so much since freshman year. It is as if we are different people now.”

Zizhen Song, Staff Writer

“We are like salmon, swimming into a large ocean. I am sure I will find someone.

— Senior Jun Ahn

With the school year coming to an end and summer fast approaching, seniors scramble to make plans for their last few months of peace and serenity before starting a new chapter in their lives. After spending countless days walking the same halls and numerous evenings cheering for the same team, seniors at Issaquah prepare for graduation and what lies beyond.

Amongst the vast array of activities that awaits us under the sunny skies of summer, seniors seem to gravitate toward one task in particular: work. Needless to say, moving out and starting college require money. Food, housing, and tuition all demand gigantic sums of money that some of us just do not have. Eager to rack up some spare change before their schedules are once again saturated with classes and activities, seniors at Issaquah High began sending out resumes and attending interviews.

Senior Allan Berche says, “I am thinking about applying for an internship at Nintendo, but it is in Kent though which is far. I can always apply at the movie theater. They are always hiring high schoolers.” We, as students in the greater Seattle area, have access to many unique and wonderful opportunities that not all high schoolers do. Seniors weigh the costs and benefits of each opportunity before making a choice. In a way, such flexibility is a luxury that we students at Issaquah enjoy.

At the same time, however, some have noticed that acceptance for these opportunities have become more competitive in the recent years. Senior Denis Arkharov reports, “I am trying to get an internship at a hospital, but all the spots are already filled. I need to plan earlier next time.” Despite having a rich abundance of advanced medical facilities in the area around us, jobs in the health industry are hard to obtain. No job is a guarantee for that matter.

Soon enough, many seniors will find new meaning behind the numbers that follow dollar signs. These numbers that we call prices will no longer be a figure of comparison but an expense that one works to pay. That $3.65 grande latte, for some, will translate to washing 20 dishes, or 15 minutes of babysitting. Lunch might no longer be from the pockets of our guardians but from the sweat-stained uniforms that we wear to greet customers. Sure, things might not be as dramatic as I described. Financial assistance at varying degrees will still exist beyond June 18. However, there is pride in the ability to say “I worked for this” or “I bought this myself.” Amongst many others who have a job, I can confidently say that immense satisfaction and comfort can be found on the road of finding financial independence.

Senior Jun Ahn works as a receptionist at a tutoring firm. Ahn reports that the job is boring at times, but he needs money to buy text books, for food, and to spend on his future girlfriend. He says, “We are like salmon, swimming into a large ocean. I am sure I will find someone.” In addition to everyday expenses such as rent and food costs, seniors have other pursuits that require financial ability. To realize his romantic ambitions, Ahn pours in many hours a week answering calls and scheduling appointments. The hopes of finding love in college motivates and propels Ahn forward. As a spectator, I wish him the best of luck.

Besides working in the summer, a majority of seniors are also planning senior trips with close friends before parting ways. Senior Dan Constantinescu says, “I am thinking about going on a trip with the boys, but we haven’t planned it yet.” Constantinescu is not alone. In fact, it seems like everyone who wants to go on a senior trip has yet to thing through the details. With summer fast approaching and flights being booked, seniors scramble to lay out last minute plans.  Such procrastination is well integrated into the mentality of many seniors after spending four years in high school. Putting off essays until the night before and rushing through homework at the start of class has translated into hasty summer plans.

Popular destinations for trips with fellow seniors include Portland, Oregon, and down to parts of California. The common consensus suggests that the preferred mode of transportation is by car. Road trips, affordable and flexible, seem to be on the minds of graduates but doubts arise on their execution. A road trip with best buds is desirable, to say the least but getting organized is no simple task. Senior Sumeet Hiray says, “During freshman year, my friends and I really looked forward to going on a road trip at the end of our senior year but now that we are seniors, I don’t think we will be going on this long-anticipated trip.”

In addition to road trips with besties, many seniors are also traveling abroad with family members over the summer. Senior Alexis Espinosa says, “I will be going to the Philippines for a month with my family. We will be visiting some family members and spending time at the beach.” Living in a nation of immigrants, fellow students share roots that span across the world. For some, an international trip means exploring one’s own cultural heritage. For others, it means revisiting the land of birth and family. Technological advancements have eased long distant trips and allowed for a diverse community as our own to exist. With high school coming to an end and college soon to follow, summer is a wonderful time to spend time with family and visit relatives.

Senior Logan Ainsworth says, “I will be going to Japan this summer. I have an uncle who lives there and will be spending 10 to 12 days with him.” Ainsworth is a dedicated Japanese student here at IHS and has been studying the language and culture for the past four years. His uncle’s employment in Japan has provided him with an opportunity to utilize the skills he has obtained and polished with hard work and enthusiasm. Too often do students feel that class content is disconnected and inapplicable in life, but for Ainsworth, this trip presents a special occasion to observe the relevance of classroom knowledge. At the same time, he will unquestionably find joy and satisfaction on his visit, for Japan is a wondrous nation with delicious food, beautiful sights, and commendable hospitality.

Packing for college will also be an inevitable task that many people must tackle. Careful selection of items to bring to new residencies can be a factor of success for the upcoming school year. What to bring is hard to decide but what to leave behind can be even harder to determine. Senior Jake Tebbe says, “I will bring my laptop with me but leave my desktop at home. It’s too bulky to bring along.” Items of importance or high monetary value might be left behind with this transitioning, but it is also an opportunity to assess and identify what one values amongst his or her numerous possessions. In this ever-so-materialistic society, such evaluation can shed light on aspects that are truly important to one’s life.

Regardless of what one chooses to do, summer, as with all things, will eventually end. Seniors’ paths will diverge, branching off from the foundation that the past four years have given us. Though our paths will separate, we, graduating seniors of 2018, will carry with a piece of Issaquah High wherever we go. We will carry with us all the memories of growth and accomplishment as we face new challenges. We will forever remember the friendships and love that we received as we meet and form new bonds.