Kayden Shih / Cabin John MS ⮞ Blair HS (2020)
The start of eighth grade established a new beginning. A fresh, empty canvas which holds the vast secrets of our approaching adulthood. No one was ready to step back into our arduous routines, each brimming with grueling tasks. Nobody wanted to be lectured for six hours and forty-five minutes until next summer. However, the most challenging aspect remained unsolved, planning our high school careers.
Many were excited as they yearned for their favorite schools while others were overwhelmed by their boundless freedom and infinite choices. Soon aspiration turned into competition and nervousness became rivalry. People started boasting, lowering other students’ confidence. Other people buried their heads in textbooks, desperately hoping to obtain useful information. The mere thought of being invited into one of those high, esteemed programs completely altered people’s attitude.
Everyone around me was improving rapidly while I was stuck at the bottom. Then I was granted a life-changing opportunity, Doctor. Li’s Fall GT Preparation class. I quickly learned that it was a strenuous course which took place every Saturday for twelve weeks. Fortunately, I was able to attend, even though they were already four weeks in.
It was extremely nerve-racking to enter a class full of other contestants. I did not recognize anyone and I was severely behind. Although, Doctor. Li made it exceedingly easy to catch up and learn at the same time. Soon, I started making friends and grasping knowledge I could not have dreamt of. During the first two hours of class, we explored the different parts of English literature and vocabulary. When the last hour came, we shifted our brains over to math, prepared to solve all kinds of problems. Every necessary concept was hammered into our minds until we could perform them with ease.
The test approached swiftly as we hastily reviewed our packets and practiced our new skills. Anxiety filled the crowded room while lines of students were directed towards their testing areas. Then it was my turn to be herded into a faraway room with a group of random students. I was so lost in thought that I could not even remember walking into our designated room and being seated.
We were instructed to remove any electronic devices and complete a survey about our high school plans. We apprehensively selected which high schools we were aiming for as we waited for our first real task. Suddenly, the proctor introduced us to the essay in which we were obligated to complete in thirty minutes. Each student hurriedly outlined their ideas and put them into motion. As time passed, the essay grew surprisingly easier as I took different concepts from Doctor. Li and combined them to create an appealing writing piece. By the time the proctor announced the “5 minutes left” mark, most of us were already finished and satisfied.
The rest of the test was split into nine subjects which were grouped into three carried out consecutively between five minute breaks. Due to Doctor. Li’s extensive exercises, the majority of the test seemed easy. The problems on his packet were very similar if not harder than those on the magnet test. The only issue was that it was timed, therefore you had to budget your time accurately and precisely.
The magnet test was finally over after long endurance and exhausting preparation. Yet, it was all worth it when I received my acceptance letter which would have been impossible without Doctor Li’s assistance.