Photo By: Courtesy of Sophie Ho
Mountain View High graduate Sophie Ho, right, cheers for her college team at a football game.
In Haruki Murakami’s short story, “On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning,” the novelist recounts the tale of a fated couple – a man and woman who, on first sight, recognize that the other is their “100 percent perfect lover” – in other words, their soul mate. His story nurtures the idea that one can find something unrealistically ideal on first recognition.
When I read this short story in my second semester of senior year at Mountain View High School, I remember hoping that the same situation would occur to me come April, a month that would determine the next four years of my life. After receiving news (acceptance or rejection) from the multiple colleges I had applied to, I fantasized that I would somehow instinctively know which university would be 100 percent perfect for me.
But when April arrived and I began to hear back from colleges, I realized that finding the perfect match would inevitably go beyond that “good feeling” described in Murakami’s short story. There was no click, no inner voice that quietly told me which college would be best for me – no 100 percent perfect match, at least at first glance.
Romantic belief in my own instincts was replaced with the familiar worry that I might make the wrong choice. But after days of deliberation, I finally chose a university to call home for the next four years of my life, a place that came as close to 100 percent perfect for me that I could find.
After finishing a semester of college, I have accepted that while Murakami’s story was romantic, it doesn’t come close to describing the real struggle when evaluating a potential match. While I now believe that my university is the perfect place for me, I found it more important to actively find my own space on campus – to carve a place where I could grow and take advantage of opportunities that weren’t always presented on a silver platter. It wasn’t a question of compatibility, but instead one of whether or not I was willing to grow up in my new home.
For seniors waiting and hoping for that perfect match with their ideal university or future plans, I would like to say that it’s OK to relax. Take your time to compare your choices, whether that is a four-year state university, a small liberal-arts college in Ohio or a community college close to home. Understand that the perfect match likely will not appear at first glance, and it may not be your ideal until you go.
Students willing to be positive in a new world, however, will find that any future plan could potentially be 100 percent perfect for them.
The future is scary simply because it’s unpredictable. The idea that unplanned time exists can be daunting and intimidating, but everyone has the power to determine what shape the days ahead will take.
So relax, take a deep breath and believe in your ability to choose, plan and grow.
Los Altos resident Sophie Ho is a graduate of Mountain View High School and recipient of the Los Altos Town Crier Journalism Scholarship.