As the weather gets colder and the semester nears its inevitable end, I can’t help but imagine the bright lights and harmonious carols, that Christmas ambience signifying the end of a long semester and the start of a long deserved break. I can’t wait to just enjoy life for what it is instead of worrying about exams and assignments.
However, this time around, finals week is more than just the last surge of all-nighters before winter vacation. Half of my term as Editor-in-Chief is already in the past, although I remember its start like it was yesterday. And as I write this letter, the memories of these last four months, the experiences I went through, fly by in my head.
“Cheers!” The clinks of a dozen glasses colliding into each other, along with laughter and the usual chit-chat, ring throughout the room. I pour the beer down my throat, and the End-of-Semester party begins.
This has been one of the hardest semesters for me, challenging me both physically and mentally. I definitely underestimated the workload from all the additional commitments I made. Too often I asked myself — as seen in my previous Letters — whether this semester took over my life for the worse. My sleep cycle is in ruins, and my grades don’t seem to be any better. I’m still trapped in a vicious cycle of staying up to catch up on work, only to miss class and stay up again to review the material I missed. I’m also fairly certain that I lost quite a few years of my life, the sudden outgrowth of white hairs on my head a clear indicator.
Now that the semester is nearly over, hindsight can find an answer to my question. A part of me feels some form of regret. I regret missing all those classes. I regret staying up so many nights and getting bad sleep in the clubroom. I regret the fact that my focus was scattered into my different commitments that none of them got the full attention they deserved.
“The semester is finally coming to an end, huh?” I think to myself. I sigh to myself in relief. Today, even the soju looks tasty enough to drink. My hand instinctively reaches for the green bottle. I pour myself a shot.
However, it would be wrong to say that I would have rejected my predecessor’s offer to become the next Editor-in-Chief if I had the opportunity to go a year and a half back in time. Maybe it’s the Christmas spirit talking for me, but the Herald to me is so much more than a school newspaper. It’s the one part of campus that feels like home for a third-culture kid like me, and I’ve met some of the best people I know. In that sense, maybe this semester, despite all the hardships, was invaluable to me.
After a few more shots of alcohol, I look around, the sight of these familiar faces and the alcohol bringing about some weird, bittersweet feeling. These are the people I laugh, talk, and eat with every day, I thought. Suddenly, a tap on the shoulder. “Thank you for all the work you put in for us every month.”
No. To everyone in the Herald, thank you. The four volumes for this semester, along with so many — too many, in fact — amazing memories would not have been possible without you guys. And to all of our dedicated readers, thank you for reading what we put so much effort into every publication; we promise to keep informing and entertaining you with our content. Every one of you has made this semester worth it.
Good luck on exams, and happy holidays.