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Overall, I'm happy with the way I used my time, and I'm incredibly grateful for the people I met along the way

PMG FILE PHOTO  - Sydney ByunLet's say that there's is a sudden breakthrough in the field of quantum physics, and time travel becomes a reality. Let's go even further in this suspension of disbelief and say that this groundbreaking technology is made available to you.

Congratulations! Now what will you do with it?

I've asked myself this question a number of times throughout my life, after everything from major failures to mildly awkward conversations.

In general, being retrospective is not the healthiest practice, and it's important to stay focused on the present. But every once in a while, taking the time to reflect back on who you once were versus who you are now can be a valuable use of your time.

They say high school goes by fast, but I didn't understand just how fast until recently. We've always said that we couldn't wait to graduate and get out, but trying to wrap our minds around what lies beyond the confines of high school is deeply stressful.

Senior year has just started, and for me and many of my peers, that means college applications are a looming threat that is rapidly consuming our free time.

It feels rather dystopian, having to show the essence of who you are in a measly 650 words for strangers to evaluate. Trying to fill out sections on the Common Application about activities and academic honors has many seniors, including me from time to time, wishing they could go back to their early high school years and do more.

I should have put more time into this activity, I should have tried to win a contest or two, I should have run for president of this or that, I should have, could have, would have.

Unfortunately, this kind of regretful thinking is all too common, and it clouds our memories of all the things we did do. I think the fact that we made it to our senior year at all is a fairly impressive accomplishment (everyone who survives junior year deserves a medal).

Also, not all of the wonderful things that you do can be easily described in a box on the Common App, or come in a physical form like a trophy or a certificate.

The lunches I shared with my mom, the hours I spent playing tennis with my dad, the long nights driving around town with my friends because we couldn't find anything better to do. These moments define my high school career just as much, if not more, than my academics and extracurriculars. When you think about it that way, contentment supersedes regret.

If I was given the opportunity to go back in time, I don't think I would change anything. Overall, I'm happy with the way I used my time, and I'm incredibly grateful for the people I met along the way. And let's face it, it's not worth potentially tearing a hole in the space-time continuum.

Sydney Byun is a senior at Wilsonville High School.


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