Graduating Malden High School as one of the top ten students in her class, Rachel Tran is ready to face her future with the skills that Malden High has given to her.
In the fall, Tran plans on attending UMass Amherst and will be majoring in Biology. She explained that “[she] has always had this interest in the sciences and taking AP Biology this year really directed [her] towards the major.” She is not sure of what she will be minoring in yet, but she is interested in minoring in Chinese because it is her native language and recalls that “when [she] was younger, [she] took Chinese classes but stopped taking them due to her busy schedule”. Tran will also be participating in the Commonwealth Honors College, which is a diverse community of academically talented students that are provided with extensive opportunities for analysis, research, leadership development and international experience through smaller classes.
During her freshmen year, Tran participated in Crew while participating in indoor and outdoor Cross-Country during her sophomore year. She stopped playing sports after her sophomore year because “[she] wasn’t the most athletic person.”. However, she reflected that it was a great experience since she met most of her friends that she still has today through Crew and Cross-Country. Although Tran didn’t commit a full four years to a particular sport, she believes that trying out for a sport during the beginning of your high school experience will “definitely help you along the way”. Since it is usually difficult to meet and hang out with friends during class, Tran said that “doing a sport is a great way to meet friends and to have a positive experience”.
From freshman year to now, Tran has experienced a lot of change as a person. When she was a freshman, she was still finding her way around the school and figuring out who her friends were and should be. She has discovered that “friends are the people who help you discover yourself at a younger age. As a freshman, you are really still transitioning from middle school to high school, and the people who help you through that transition are usually the ones that will stick with you”.
Tran’s mindset has also changed during her high school years. She described that “different things have become more important to [her] now than what was important to [her] then. When [she] was a freshman, academics were definitely important to [her] but [she] wasn’t sure why it was important to [her].” Throughout the years, Tran has learned that “Although every subject is [her] favorite, every class [she] took in high school really impacted my mindset towards life.”
History, in particular, greatly impacted Tran because “we learn history in a different way than we learn science and math, since science and math is fact-based, but in history we learn about the past and current events that have occurred in their world.” Taking U.S History and Modern World History has helped Tran “wrap [her] head around what the world is and understand what [she] may be going into in the future.”
High school comes with its challenges, and Tran has had to overcome some of them. One of the challenges she had to face early on in high school was making new friends and losing old ones. She thinks that “as a whole, this helped [her] evolve as a person. [She] had drifted away from some of [her] middle school friends during her freshmen and sophomore year , and this was a challenge because they were so close to [her].”
Academically, one of Tran’s biggest challenges was staying focused and reminding herself of why she should be working her hard. Her parents and her friends helped her overcome this challenge since “[she] saw them continuously working hard and that was a motivator for me. Although the people around [her] were stressed out, they still worked hard, and that was influential to [her].”
On the end of her high school career, Tran is very excited to embrace her future. She says that “[she] feels very good about high school ending, although it is bittersweet, because [she] has definitely grew as a person during high school and [she thinks] that [she] is ready to move onto a new experience that is bigger than what MHS has to offer. [She] is also excited to offer something to the world.”
The advice that Tran would give to underclassmen is to “stay as focused as possible because school is so important. When it comes to your junior or senior year, and you start to look at colleges, you’ll release that your freshmen and sophomore year will definitely impact you more than you think it will. She also suggests underclassmen to “participate in clubs, sports and to stay involved”. Above all else, Tran believes that it is important to “not forget about yourself and to get enough sleep, all while challenging yourself, both academically and athletically.”