Darren Curry – Senior Reflection

Darren Curry, Scratch Paper - Staff Member


For me, it seemed like high school was both an eternity and a flash. I can still vividly remember buying new clothes for freshman year as if it were a recent memory. Now here I am, writing this literally the day before my last day of high school ever. I don’t feel particularly sad though, honestly I’m kinda glad that all the insanity is over. See, before Warren, I went to St. Patrick’s from Kindergarten to 8th grade. It was definitely a privileged school, but I still made great friends there who I still keep in contact with. For Catholic schools around here, the no-brainer for what high school you should go to is Carmel Catholic – a massive Catholic institution with thousands of students and an equally massive tuition. However, I recognized the unfairness as well as the sheltered nature of that school. Carmel is famous for how many of its students graduate to Universities such as Northwestern or Berkeley. However, I was unhappy with how the absurd tuition and the name it granted was what carried students into these elite Universities. Not all students have the economic luxury of being able to afford that school and were at a disadvantage of getting into their dream universities compared to those whose parents paid for their success. I didn’t want that. If I were to make it into my dream school, I wanted it to be by my own two hands – not because of some stupid social hierarchy that only lets privileged people achieve their dreams. So that’s why I went to Warren.


Anyway, four years have passed since then and I’m glad to say that I’ve committed to University of Michigan Ann-Arbor, ranked #19 in the US News 2022-2023 Best Global Universities Ranking. I’ll be studying Computer Engineering, a passion that I got from both my dad’s software business, and also because I’ve been exposed to computers literally all my life. I’m hoping to get a Bachelor’s, or even perhaps a Master’s if I can afford it, and eventually earn myself a job in Silicon Valley at Google or Apple. So, yeah, I definitely would say I’m heading in a pretty good direction for now. I figured I should do a bit of a reflection of all my high school years to recall how I got Here.



Freshman Year – The Forgettable Year


Starting High School was daunting for me, just as it was for pretty much everyone else. I didn’t know too many people since most of my friends went to Carmel, so I had to make some new friends. To add to the trouble, I already had social anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder, so that made things a bit worse, but thankfully making new friends wasn’t very hard. I’m a big fan of all kinds of video games and pop culture, so having things in common with people was pretty easy. I was only in one honor’s class at the time (foreshadowing the AP hell in my senior year) so my workload was pretty light and I mostly just played games while at home. I took Digital Video Production with Mr.Heimstead (I don’t know if I spelt his name correctly) and he was definitely one of the most entertaining teachers I’ve ever had. Another issue I had was dealing with the many shady characters this school has to offer and walking into bathrooms full of people vaping, but I just kept my distance and made friends only with people I trusted. I also found that I was extremely gifted at badminton, but was horrendous at swimming in Gym that year.


Of course, my freshman year had a strange turn when COVID hit. I recall that in January and February, COVID seemed like a distant, overseas problem that America didn’t have to deal with. Then March came and the Friday exactly one week before our spring break was supposed to start it was announced that school would not convene the following week. So what did we do? We celebrated our surprise two-week spring break. The two months of dealing with COVID in freshman year was actually pretty chill. I’m pretty fast at getting my work done, so I just finished my stuff in a few hours and then played video games for the rest of the day. Pretty unorthodox start to high school I would say.


Sophomore Year – Ironically My Favorite Year


This is it: the big, scary COVID year where we didn’t go to school once during the entire year. It was pretty great. It definitely sucked that we had to do online meetings, especially with the block schedule where each class was like 70 minutes long. However, it wasn’t so bad because I could at least lie in bed and take notes. Moreover, the classes were slower passed and content was cut, so it wasn’t a very difficult year at all. That year was also special since instead of one honors class, I took two: Honors Trig and Honors Chem. Chemistry was a bit of a nightmare because of a certain teacher, but it was still more entertaining than Biology. I also had a study hall that semester that was back to back with the designated lunch time which literally just gave me two hours to get my work done and I wouldn’t have any homework at all and I could just play video games. The year was so easy I’m pretty certain I had all A+’s without the cheating that everyone was doing.  Ate a lot of Taco Bell that year too.


What is especially poignant that year though is that it introduced me to programming. I first developed an interest in programming in my Freshman year since I played lots of video games. I asked my counselor one week before COVID started if there were any electives that were programming related and thankfully there was. It was with that class that I found out that I was extremely gifted with computers. It kind of just felt natural to me what I was doing – like I was creating the things I love. I even did a little bit of programming in my free time to make apps and games. It was around at that point where I decided that I wanted to major in something computer related. After all, my dad was the owner of a software firm, so I might as well follow his footsteps.


Junior Year – The College Paranoia Year


In person school was back which sort of sucked since I kind of liked being at my house. Anyway, that year I knew I especially had to maintain my straight A’s because colleges account for your junior year the most when they consider your admission. The thought was pretty terrifying. I took AP Computer Science Principle – a class where, despite the name, it was comically easy since it was primarily block coding and computing theory. That class further reinforced my love for computers and also let me make friends with a lot of dudes that shared my love for computers and video games. They were all seniors since it was a primarily senior filled class, but I still have them added on Discord and we still play games online together. Shout out to Mr. Bruno who also wrote me a college recommendation letter.

That year I also took Honors PreCalc BC, which wasn’t actually very hard at all, but that’s probably just because I’m really gifted when it comes to math. I also took Honors Physics (mostly because I didn’t know that there was an AP Physics oops) and that was an extremely interesting class. Physics wasn’t a mandatory class unlike Biology and Chemistry, but I took it anyway because I was simply interested in the subject and also because my dad has a PhD in physics. Physics became my favorite Science by a long shot, mostly because I hate Biology with a passion and Chemistry became traumatizing because of a certain bad teacher.


I would say the most horrific part of that year was the SAT. The SAT is kind of a big deal when you’re a dude with big dreams like me, so I studied like crazy. Even then, I had to take the SAT three times to get the score I wanted.


Senior Year – The AP Hell Year


Yeah, so I took six AP classes this year. I took AP Micro, Macro, Stats, Calc BC, Lit, and Physics 2, all of which are considerably difficult, but I took them because I needed to look good to colleges and also because I wanted to challenge myself. It honestly put a damper on my mental health doing three hours of homework everyday, but I somehow survived. Thankfully, it paid off and got me into a crazy school like UMich. The college application process was pretty horrifying. I applied to 12 different schools, some as easy to get into as University of Iowa, and some as difficult as Stanford. The amount of essays I had to write was absurd since I basically had to metaphorically sell myself to a bunch of big time universities and convince them I’m worth their time. Thankfully, I’m pretty decent at writing so I was able to tug at their heartstrings. Some schools actually surprised me with their responses. UW Madison accepted me for Computer Science even though I applied regular decision and Illinois Tech offered a $120,000 scholarship. When the UMich acceptance letter came though I just tossed all the other offers in the trash honestly since Michigan has always been infamous in the tech field.


This year was especially taxiing since I could feel that I was starting to get burnt out. I don’t know if it was just because it was my last year of high school and I was getting tired or if it was because I was taking six APs but I found myself lazing a lot more than I did prior years. I still somehow managed to pass with all A’s seventh semester to make sure I still looked good to colleges, but just barely. AP testing weeks were also absolute hell since I had 5 AP tests that were literally either on the same day or back to back days, which made studying an absolute nightmare. I managed to walk out of them confident that I got the sufficient credit (University of Michigan is kind of insane with AP credit and only gives credit for a 5 on the Calc BC exam.) It’s definitely taken its toll though since I’ve spent the past two days just lazing around in bed.


Some other miscellaneous things that happened this year was that I took two semesters of Japanese at CLC. I mostly did it because a lot of colleges required foreign language credits, but I also took Japanese in particular since I watch a lot of anime and also am from an Asian household. It was pretty awesome to hang around full grown adults who share the same interest as me and I also made a lot of friends in that class. I actually love Japanese so much that I’m going to get a minor in Japanese at UMich. I’m actually going to self study over the Summer in time for the Japanese placement exam.


Another thing that really took off was my art. I always did art as a hobby – a way to kill time, but I got especially good at it this year in particular. I think it might’ve been because I took drawing studio 1 and 2, but the hobby that I started a few years ago just for fun really turned into passion and skill. I even gifted my most prized piece of art, “Hunter’s Dream” to my ill father.





So If I were to describe high school in one word, it’d definitely be “traumatic.” I don’t know if three months of summer is enough to fully mentally recover from this experience. Jokes aside, High School has been a very disciplining and enlightening experience for me and helped me achieve my dreams. I made some really great friends that will be with me for my entire life. Now, I’ll move on to see what the University of Michigan has in store for me. Apparently the curriculum is equivalent to taking all APs, so thankfully I’m already numb to that. Peace out, Warren.