Features / News

Completing the Puzzle

By APRIL WANG, Co-Editor-In-Chief

GROWING UP, my mother and I would sit around our living room coffee table and work on jigsaw puzzles after dinner. Through spending hours building puzzle borders and sorting thousands of pieces by color solving puzzles became one of my favorite pastimes.

But as a hyperactive seven-year old, I hated puzzles—I could barely sit still for thirty minutes to eat dinner, let alone hours to build a jigsaw.

In a probable attempt to lower the noise level in our house, my mother encouraged me to solve a puzzle with her one evening, telling me that the only thing I needed was patience.

And so I began. The start of building my first jigsaw was full of motivation—I ripped open the clear plastic cover of the puzzle box and gazed at the scenic reference picture of Yellowstone National Park; I felt excited and driven, eager to complete the challenge. Two hours in, puzzle building became harder—pieces seemed to be somewhat foreign from one another and what we built lacked barely any similarity to the colorful picture displayed on the puzzle box; I felt a little discouraged, but still determined to get to the finish line. Several days later, the feat seemed impossible; I felt drained and disappointed, but with the encouragement of my mother, we continued. After two weeks of strategic planning and patience, our masterpiece was complete; I felt overjoyed and proud, realizing how rewarding hard work and perseverance could be.

My first experience with jigsaw building is surprisingly comparable to my past four years at JP.

I remember entering high school being wide-eyed and excited, naively thinking that I was ready to take on any challenges that came my way. I walked from Laura Ave. to school on the first day, viewing the outside of JP as I had initially viewed the brand new puzzle box—with ambition and optimism.

As sophomore year rolled around, classes became increasingly difficult and extracurricular activities became more demanding. Challenges, whether academic or personal, became troublesome and trying, distant from the idyllic notions I had in mind. Similar to how I felt “two hours in,” I was surprised by the difficulty of obstacles, yet hopeful of the finish line.

It was during my junior year that I faced the greatest disappointments and many hurdles, but discovered the importance of supportive peers. Just as my mother’s encouragement motivated me to persist when I believed finishing the puzzle was impossible, my friends’ care and love for me, shown through encouraging words, inspired me to continue achieving my goals (shoutout to Syna Tsai for FaceTiming me at any time of the day to motivate me).

As senior year wraps up, I can’t help but recognize that our masterpiece has been completed. Whether we are going to continue our education, or pursue other interests, we have managed to graduate—through the naiveté, the disappointment, the rock bottom.

Class of 2019, we have made it. We are graduates. We have achieved a great milestone. However, before the joy and achievement, we will face unexpected adversity and heavy setbacks. It is important that during these times we hold on to perseverance, determination, and our biggest supporters. Whether we are merely solving a jigsaw puzzle, getting through the next four years of college, or achieving groundbreaking records in science or politics, we are to remember our ambitions, work hard through the most formidable of times, and rely on those around us.

Class of 2019, thank you for everything. Good luck and farewell.

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