My Grade 10 Year: Murmurs, Thoughts, Explorations, Adieus, Anticipations
My grade 10 year came to an end. Looking back, I may immediately think of my diary with hundreds to thousands of words every month, the photos in my albums, the smiles of several people whom I love and who love me, the sunrises by the lake, classroom, clouds. My thoughts will flow to the sounds that echo in my ears: the chirping of birds, rustle of leaves, the lapping of the lake, the waltzing of music; people laughing, choking, quarreling… My sense of smell would often trace back to all the fragrance of the soil after the rain in different seasons, the aroma of vegetation, of certain seasons, and people.
Last year, I got the admission notice approximately at this time; A similar moment a year later, I am recalling every bit of this academic year and recording my testimony to the growth of myself and the people around me. I dedicate this article to all the people I met in this school. It is a great honor to have sung the song of youth with you all.
Murmurs and Thoughts
Sometimes I like to nag, talk to myself, and worry about things. Perhaps the most unforgettable experience was that we had been under lockdown on campus for nearly four months since the outbreak of COVID-19 locally on February 14, 2022. We remained indoors when “the sun is shining on the rain, and the rain is falling on the sunshine”, which disrupted the plans of myself and many people around us while bringing me different opportunities. 
I often bring to mind the words of my favorite singer, Cécile Corbel, who mentioned in her blog for the song Valse sur un Banc (Waltz on the Bench), “I would like it to remain a bit like this, precious, like our strong bonds despite the separation of several months.”  I often murmur to myself too, “although our steps are restricted, we can still do a lot of things, such as dancing on the bench”, inspired by that song. My heart will travel to the places I love. These are the most frequent and my favorite murmurs this year.
I used this time to ignite some passion: I would spend a lot of time playing on campus, strumming ukulele chords, taking pictures of clouds (long-term geography homework haha), playing frisbee, watching movies on the lawn, laying on a blanket to read books, watching the sunset with a guitar, writing long articles and diaries… I feel happy to do things I like with people I love.
The gray buildings of the school make many people around me feel monotonous and depressed, but after being closed for some time, it makes me fall in love with the style of the Suzhou gardens even more.
I have inexplicable personal thoughts on it, but perhaps the most obvious force is this: gray brings me a life attitude and character that I appreciate very much — humility and tolerance that slightly restrains at a suitable time. The greatest charm of spring in the school is the unpredictable hues in the sunrise, sunset, rainstorm, wildflowers, dew, my imaginations, etc. that reflect in the spring beauty and gray tints. I would be complacent from time to time because I have done something well. Although this can be said to be a kind of pride and satisfaction, sometimes I have to suppress an urge of unnecessary show-offs to the outside world. In such times, the color of the school reminds me not to expose all of myself at once. Just like the gray background color acts as a “backdrop” for the presentation of other colors, everything that should come will come.
I am learning to balance: when it is time to show and stand out, shine like the radiant sunrise; when it is time to restrain, step back to let go of some things and pursue what belongs to me.
This year is a good time to challenge and discover myself. When I started school, I was anxious because of a lot of uncertainty. Later, I gradually learned to tell myself to take a breath before anxiety and add a little inaction to action .
Looking back at the article I wrote in early September last year, I found that the things I struggled with at that time have become what I value and cherish now. Of the many things I attempted, the most challenging ones are frisbee, theater, Traditional Chinese Medicine, my Passion Project (a year-long individual project on a topic of personal interest), and ukulele.
Take theater for example. This is what I was most looking forward to last summer vacation. At first, I was overwhelmed with excitement. Later, I found that there were more complicated things in the theater than I expected, such as the stage arts behind the scenes, as well as the anxiety of rehearsal, repeated boredom, conflicting views, the satisfaction and relief of being engulfed by applause after the curtain call, etc.
In the middle of each project, no matter how busy I was in rehearsal or researching materials, I would always take some time to write diaries to record my feelings. I get bored, annoyed, and cry every time. I also found an obsessive thought of “I should love theater” instead of asking myself whether I truly like it.
My passion ought to be not what my rational mind tells me to love, but what I would feel empty without doing. In the end, I found that what I liked about theater is watching it, acting and some trivial parts of stage arts like music, rather than the responsibility of all the complexity and creativity behind it that I had anticipated.
On the way, I regretted it; I considered quitting; I also cursed myself with a stone heart in my lowest times… but now, in retrospect, I am glad I made this choice. When there is a chance, trying it yourself is the best way to make a decision. I found my theater teacher to be strict, principled, endearing and talented. She brought us many angles and unknown voices and allowed me to experience the authentic side of doing theater. I still smile now when I recall her nicknames and well-known “style” among us students.
Mainly because of rehearsals, we spent more time together outside of class than in other classes. I made good friends when we are making jokes, laughing at each other, resolving conflicts, and celebrating together. I am also glad that I can learn to speak for my views and different people in this process. I can communicate with others equally with my freedom, and we can design actions together. I begin to understand that there are different views to thinking from the perspective of others, and this way we will ignite sparks together. It will be an unforgettable time.
I have explored a lot in different places, including some individual and group projects, time spent with friends and teachers, and other things I never thought of. All this is slowly guiding me to make bold attempts, seize opportunities and head forward.
Boarding school provides an environment to get along day and night, so the relationship between friends we make will be closer. We can also do some things that are not easy to do in day school, such as outdoor movies, picnics, going to the student kitchen to cook, chatting with each other in dormitories, etc. I associated myself with a group of amazing people.
In the last week, I remember sitting in the art classroom to learn knitting, having tea by the lake, practicing in the music room, and moving some objects around in Yushan Academy, a traditional Chinese building complex in the school. With the melody of birds’ chirps and the beauty of clouds, we watched the time condense into memories that I will cherish forever.
With the coming of graduation season, my friends in grade 12 will leave me; some friends in grade 10 will also transfer to other parts of the world, and some teachers will also depart. I didn’t cry because I know we would meet again in the future. May everything be well and please take my love with you all. No matter where you go, we will always be a family!
After entering the school, I had an impulse to spread what I benefited from my self-cultivation of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), but I was a little timid when I thought of this grand goal. I thought for a long time, but suddenly one day, a voice told me that a club will not appear out of thin air. Writing the application form and activity design took a lot of energy after class for me and my start-up partners. After the submission, we also needed to often meet with teachers for approval but we didn’t expect it to pass so soon.
We vigorously promoted the recruitment of people. In the beginning, about 20 people joined our group chat, but most of them came to have a go, just as I did elsewhere. From a leader’s perspective, it would make me upset to see people go, but as a participant, it is also a respect for the participant themselves and the leader. If I wasted time in a club I do not enjoy, I would not make real contributions, which is disrespectful to my time and the others in the club.
I felt a little disappointed when someone did not stay, but later I found comfort in knowing they have supported my club, and I am grateful that they are willing to sincerely indicate their intentions to me. Those who remained have also proved to me that they are passionate about it and will persevere. My club feels more and more like a “cult” (in the sense of fewer people) and it worried me at times, but now I recognize the “unpopularity” of TCM at my age and I don’t mind. My passion lies in what I do for some time and what I can continue to persevere after setbacks. Since I like it, I will continue to do it. I look forward to hosting more activities next semester that I haven’t had time to do this school year.
I look forward to DP life and lessons, new friends and teachers at the time of farewell, and more wonders ahead.
 Adapted from Burnett, Frances Hodgson. “Chapter 13 ‘I Am Colin.’” The Secret Garden, 1. ed, Knopf, 1988.
 Corbel, Cécile. “Chansons > Valse sur un banc — Le petit monde de Cécile Corbel.” Eklablog, 11 July 2020, http://lepetitmondedececilecorbel.eklablog.com/chansons-valse-sur-un-banc-p2868692. Translated by Google Translate, modified by myself. (I hope there were not too many errors)
 Referring to the Taoist concept of 无为 (wú wéi, roughly meaning “inaction”).
 You can find out more about my experience during and after the lockdown here.