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Embracing Imperfection: The Power of Appreciation

By Shun H., Grade 12
As my four-year journey at Stanstead comes close to an end, I remember my first day here as if it were yesterday. The excitement, the nerves and the anticipation of what was to come are still vivid in my mind. Over these years, I have met countless people, participated in numerous sports games and learned many valuable lessons. While my time at Stanstead might sound like a seamless adventure, the reality is that it was a challenging journey filled with ups and downs. Let me share some of those experiences with you. 

As I was preparing for my flight to Stanstead in August 2020, shocking news struck me. Due to COVID restrictions, my study permit couldn't be processed, and I could only go to Canada in December. During this period, I woke up at 8 PM every day and attended classes online from 10 PM until 4 AM because of the time difference. I slept at 10 AM and repeated this routine for three months. The time difference between Montreal and Japan left me without any sunlight. It was three long months, and I couldn't wait to attend school and meet my friends in person.
I still remember the day I was at the airport with my family in December when I could finally travel to Canada. The usually noisy airport was silent with only my family and me occupying the empty airport departure lobby. My flight to Montreal was a peaceful journey since only five passengers were on the plane, and Air Canada's usually dry service was at its best. It’s disappointing that I haven’t been able to receive the best service since then…
My beginning at Stanstead was different than planned, but it taught me the value of flexibility and perseverance. I realized that I could handle unexpected obstacles and still achieve my goals by appreciating and believing in what I have. 
In December 2020, when I finally arrived at Stanstead, the school year didn't go as planned either. Due to COVID, we couldn't have any sports games and had to follow strict COVID rules by wearing daily masks. Our freedom was taken away, and I was mainly going between the dorm and the classroom, feeling stuck, anxious and stressed. In such a situation, I can't believe how much the conversations and jokes I had with my friends in the dorm saved my heart and gave me a little hope. I remember the house parents in Bugbee making my friends and me run around the campus every weekend since we were awake until midnight, wandering from room to room. When my mom met me at the airport a year later, she was surprised to see how much weight I had lost and asked if the food was terrible. I told her, “No, Mom, it was just Bugbee’s unexpected fitness program!” 
The difficulties we faced weren't just limited to huge events. It also included minor, everyday challenges. I had problems with sports, academics, and daily school life. However, these experiences taught me that perfection is an illusion and that life's value lies in appreciating what we have despite imperfections. 
My journey at Stanstead has been marked by resilience, adaptability and growth. I have learned to navigate through unexpected obstacles, and in doing so, I have discovered my strengths and capabilities. These experiences have shaped me into who I am today and have prepared me for the future.
So, let's embrace the imperfections in our lives and appreciate the beauty in the journey itself. Perfection is not the goal; instead, it is the appreciation of our experiences, the connections we've made and the growth we've achieved that genuinely matters. 
Steve Jobs once said, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you must trust that the dots will connect in your future." This means that you don't know at the time how valuable an experience will be in the future but believe that it will definitely be helpful to you in the end.  

I feel that everything I have experienced in Stansted has become one dot and will definitely help me in my future life. 

Finally, I want to thank my family, friends, and teachers who helped me connect those dots and supported me for past for years.