Senior Column: Vianna Dao


Vianna Dao, Writer

After four long years of walking through the hallways at Oshkosh North, the time has finally come for me to graduate. Honestly, I’ve been putting off writing this because I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that I’m really graduating soon. 

Coming in as a freshman, I’ve always had some sort of plan for what I’m trying to accomplish and how I wanted things to go. Now that it’s senior year and I start college in the fall, it’s another four years of planning that is going to reoccur. If anything, though, I’ve learned that not everything goes according to plan. 


I never would have thought that at the age of 14, I would be spending the last half of my freshman year online and away from school because of a pandemic named Coronavirus. COVID-19 brought many hardships, but it also brought important lessons that I’ve learned from as well. It taught me that school shouldn’t be my only focus in life, and that I need to create a work-life balance. It allowed me to figure out who and what type of person I wanted to be. The years with the biggest impact from the pandemic were some of the hardest years of high school. However, it has really inspired growth and change in the way that I’ve viewed life. It made me appreciate the little things, most importantly the people and teachers that I am fortunate to know.


To my parents, the people who forever inspire me to work my hardest, thank you. Despite our disagreements, you have always motivated me to work hard and do my best in order to create a future that I would be successful in. You’ve shown me that life has its lessons to learn and also its obstacles that either break you, change your path, or change your perspective. I see now that overcoming those obstacles comes with hidden benefits to keep on trying.


To my teachers, thank you. Thank you for trying your hardest and your best every single day. Thank you for seeing the person behind the student who finishes assignments and trying your best to connect with them. All of the moments and laughter that have been shared in each classroom forever lives in my memory. Your inspiration, desire for success, and passion carries on with each passing class that goes through Oshkosh North. 

To Mrs. Speidel, thank you for waking me up every morning freshman year with your bubbly and open personality even if it wasn’t the most desirable class because of it being an Advanced Placement (AP) class. It helped me feel comfortable with the idea of being in high school. You have also been such an amazing listening ear to my complaints, life stories, heartbreak, and frustrations. 


To Mrs. Klysen and Mrs. Anderson, thank you for fueling the spark that will follow me as I continue my education for my desired career. Many individuals dislike math and chemistry, but your classes sparked my interest to continue in those fields despite the challenges that will follow. 


To Mrs. Munig, gracias. Thank you for all of the laughs that were shared in your classroom and all of the memories that were made. You showed me how to appreciate languages and the uniqueness they have from each other. You taught me how to gain confidence in speaking another language. I’ll forever be thankful for the patience that you’ve shown me during the difficult time of covid. 


Everyone from a young age is always asked about what they want to do when they’re older. However, no one really talks about the feeling of reaching the end of high school and actually moving onto the steps that lead to their desired career. The feeling is overwhelming and so surreal at the same time. 


It’s because of the “you have made it phrase.” We all face struggles and hardships over time, but no one really talks about the silent battles that we face throughout high school. Doubt, fear, and sadness is normally hidden away to the point where some might consider surrendering to them. But, when you win against those feelings, it really opens your perspective of life. It allows you to view the person that you’ve become. 


If anything, don’t leave high school with regrets; tell the person that you like them, don’t be afraid to say I love you in your relationship, try out for a sport or musical. Live your life and don’t overwork yourself because every living moment is something to be grateful for, as tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to happen. There’s always going to be good days and bad days, but those days grow you into the person you want to be. 


After four long years, I can proudly say that I’m not that 14 year old person anymore. The person who walked into high school with so many fears about who I’d be and how those four years would turn out. Instead, I’m leaving with that part of me who is proud to see the person that they have become.