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When I first read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, I was this bright eyed 14-year-old, lost in the idea of love with over a thousand pages worth of diary entries. Just being by the side of the person you have the hugest crush on, doing their homework and projects for them, felt like everything. Yes, I was (and maybe still kind of am) a simp.

High school was such a mix of things that I’m still trying to make sense of. At this point in time, all I can say is that I learned some really valuable things from those several guys that I had crushes on all throughout high school.

Here’s what I learned and some backstories about some of them.

Don’t work hard, work smart

Before, I always operated by the books, doing everything as I was told, step-by-step, and got a lot of  “teacher support” for it. On the other hand, I was breaking apart because of all I had to do. Juggling being a part of the student council, school concerts, science fair, robotics, and more, for 24 hours a day, felt like nothing.

The guy I had a crush on back then saw my mild breakdowns and told me that I needed to work smarter and not harder. The guy, being a close friend as well, used it just as an excuse to get me to stop complaining and I got mad every time he said it. Now, in university, I get it. You don’t always have to do all the reading assignments when you can just read a summary somewhere online, and you don’t always have to do all the questions on the homework if you do it with friends. I get it.

image of the quote "Don't work hard, work smart."

Different is good

This is the guy that came up for a history presentation with nothing but a dry erase pen when everyone else made posters. The main rubric instructed students to have visual aid in the presentation. But he drew on the board as he explained his topic! I don’t know why it was just so surprising to the whole class as well as the teacher back then, and everyone was giving weird looks at him. That’s just one of the other things he did that he received weird looks for.

I had a thing for the guy just because of that. It wasn’t like he was trying hard to stick out. He was simply expressing himself in a way that was most him. That takeaway point always made me recalibrate whatever I was doing, asking things like, “Is this really how I would express myself?” This person inspired me to not worry about what others think, but to just make it work by being you.

image of quote "Being different is good, embrace it"

Although this is just the tip of the iceberg of the things I learned from my crushes in high school, I’m going to stop here for this week. I hope everyone knows that there’s always something you can learn from someone around you. It may not be apparent, but if you pay close attention, you’ll see it.

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Yuki Thane

U Mass Amherst '23

Yuki is a junior at UMass Amherst majoring in Informatics and Communication. Playing instruments, singing, taking pictures, writing and sketching are some things she does when she's not 6ft under readings and assignments. Anyone can find her power-walking on campus at any time jamming to BTS.
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