4 Reasons to Avoid Senioritis

The time has come once again— as the second semester kicks off, the halls are lit up by jokes about a special group of people going through a special time: seniors. “Oh, let’s count how many days you show up to class,” someone says; “but who cares about APs at this point?” someone asks. Senioritis is an annual phenomenon that never fails to disappoint. Once that last college application has been submitted, 12th graders seem to instantly slump into a state of indifferent lethargy.

The obvious argument against senioritis put forth by KIS administrators and counselors is: if your grades drop significantly, you may get your college admissions offer rescinded, or worse, fail to graduate. But everyone knows this is quite rare. Most students suffering from senioritis slack off just enough so that they put in minimal effort to avoid serious consequences. That’s not what I call “avoiding senioritis”. I’m arguing for active effort, straight through the end of the semester. What if we actually worked as hard, or even harder, than we ever have?

Why would we do that, you ask?

Well, keep reading.

Senioritis contributes to the “college is everything” culture. KIS has suffered from an environment that stresses college admissions above everything else, and seniors know this better than anyone. They are the most recent victims of a society that places value on individuals and activities for their admissions-related consequences. All-star intelligent student? Oh, but he didn’t get into an Ivy. Intriguing after-school activity? Oh, but it won’t help you get into college. How annoying has that been throughout our high school lives?This is exactly the kind of mindset we should be fighting. But by refusing to care about school after college applications are all turned in, seniors contribute to the idea that college is the end-all, be-all goal. So can we instead decide to fight that idea, and make the most of our time in high school for its inherent value?

Senioritis shows disrespect to your teachers. Imagine you’re one of those teachers that put in hours after school to plan classes and think about students. It hurts to think that students don’t care at all. Above all, it would probably hurt to see how someone who showed active effort and real interest in first semester completely disappeared after they got into college, showing you that it was all a fake mask. Taking it easy is okay; completely reversing your attitude is not.

Second semester is your transition to college. This is the last semester seniors have before heading into college, which will undoubtedly be a time with a more intense workload and much more individual responsibility. So if your choices include watching Netflix for 7 hours straight after school, forgetting about studies entirely, and not bothering to earn a passing score for your APs, this may affect you moving forward. For example, many APs are given college credit— so it’s probably beneficial to look up the AP credit chart of the schools you may be attending so you keep the motivation to do well on those APs. Besides, if you get into the habit of maintaining a horrible work ethic and time management patterns, you may suffer once you step onto the college campus.

It’s a chance to explore and do what you really want. Take college admissions out of the equation. That gives you a whole semester to do what you really want. In truth, the three reasons I have mentioned thus far pale in comparison to how passionately I believe in this one. It’s good, I think, to relax a little when it comes to academic work. This is a time to let go of grade obsession. But jumping straight into the pool of naps and TV-bingeing is a wasted opportunity. Instead, see this as a chance to invest in other things. What kind of person do you want to be? What is something you’ve always wanted to do? Maybe you can sign up for songwriting classes, go out to concerts, start working out, or learn how to cook with your mom. You could potentially head into college a slightly changed person.

In the end, the only advice I put forth is to not let this time merely go to waste. Most of all, seniors should keep in mind that this is probably the last time you will spend large amounts of time with your current friends— those you’ve laughed, cried, and struggled with, perhaps shared your first sip of alcohol or your first love. So take that into account. Show up and make more memories to end your tumultuous journey on a shining, wholesome note you won’t end up regretting once you’re off in college.

– Jisoo Hope Yoon ‘19

Featured Image: James Lee (12), Yejean Kim (12), Daniel Kim (12), taken by the author

To Current Juniors, From Current Seniors: Advice on Second Semester

Don’t slack off, but don’t stress out too much; find the perfect mixture of having fun and pursuing high achievement in academia.

You know what they say; junior year second semester is always the worst. Of course, one may beg to differ, but never mind that. It might not be the most difficult thing you must encounter in your life, but it definitely is a time in which a student has no choice but to be stressed out about not only academics but also maintaining a social life as well as getting enough sleep, whilst managing multiple extra curricular activities at the same time, and not to mention having to already think about college. Can it get any worse? Well, I don’t know about that, but there sure are ways to make the best of what’s headed towards you. Fear not, and keep your heads up high, juniors! Here are some ultimate tips and words of wisdom from seniors who have once been in your shoes. Let’s see what they have to say about enduring junior year second semester!


“Try not to exert yourself with too many activities, and stay healthy! There is a certain limit to the amount of workload you can take, so give yourself some time to keep things in balance, and keep your condition up!” – Stacy Jo (’17)

“Don’t let stress get to you, because if you’re regularly feeling hopeless and overwhelmed, it’ll be even harder to find the motivation to push through the semester.” – Alex Shu (’17)

“Finish ur SAT Subject tests related to your AP courses in your junior year, or else you’ll have to struggle to remember the content in your senior year because you pushed it until the last minute.” – Nancy Koo (’17)

“During junior second semester, it’s important to maintain your GPA. No matter what people tell you about standardized tests, although they are very important and you should finish them during first/second semesters, your GPA will be the main factor of your college application. To maintain it, start organizing your daily schedule so that you can stay on task. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made during junior first semester was not recording my class assignments on my calendar. If you write all assignments and test/quiz dates on a calendar or even a piece of paper, you will get better results. I’ve learned my lesson on that and got a higher GPA during my second semester! It’s all about not procrastinating and staying on task. You really have to get the hang of pushing yourself to do your assignments on the day that it was given, because once you become a senior it will benefit you in terms of doing college applications. You really don’t want to finish apps at the last minute!” – Emily Lee (‘17)

Emily Lee (’17) (PC: JD Choi ’18)


“Teachers’ classrooms during auto are a great library alternative for those who want a quiet study hall. Plus, you can ask the teacher questions and even ask them to proofread work if they aren’t too busy.” – Alex Shu (’17)

“Talk to each other! Everybody’s pressured about their academic life and talking it out is the best way to relieve all your stress. Keep in mind that you’re not the only one who feels pressured. It’ll help you to get through all hardships together, maybe even get a bit closer to them.” – Emily Lee (‘17)

“I relied on what I loved, which was music and dance. Luckily, those things were included in the clubs that I led or participated in, so I was able to stay spirited in school.” – Stacy Jo (’17)

Stacy Jo (’17) (PC: JD Choi ’18)


“Try to do what you love in the midst of all those hard classes and long nights of studying! It makes going through junior year so much faster and more enjoyable, regardless of how high your scores on tests are. Don’t abandon an activity to simply study for something!” – Stacy Jo (’17)

“It’s a cliché, but don’t procrastinate. Just because you could pull off a last-minute all-nighter first semester doesn’t mean it will work again second semester! Also, attend college visits when you can. It’s never too early to start getting an idea of where you might want to apply next year :).” – Alex Shu (’17)

“Hang in there, you only have a year left! Have some fun, go on trips, make some valuable memories. You only have a year left to create some of the most memorable experiences in your high school career. You might get a little depressed sometimes, but always remember there are people around you who feel the same way. They will always be there to support you. Start your common app early. Please don’t procrastinate.” – Emily Lee (‘17)

“Ask your teachers for recommendation letters before it gets too late or they’ll get stressed.” – Nancy Koo (’17)

“Looking back at it now…it feels like a short period of time to just survive. There’s always light at the end of every tunnel. So as long as you remember that…don’t ever lose hope and hang in there. It’ll all be over soon.” – Scott Kim (’17)

Nancy Koo (’17) (PC: JD Choi ’18)
Scott Kim (’17) (PC: JD Choi ’18)


“- It’s going to be tough if you leave things to the last minute. You will eventually not make it.

– Get your standardized tests done ASAP.

– Don’t forget that you’re going be applying to college. Go to college meetings during junior year. Going senior year isn’t helpful.

– Comparing yourself to others won’t get you anywhere.

– Don’t overdramatize your junior experience. Trust me, it’s not as hard as senior year first semester. Junior year is what you make of it.

– When you study, use the Ghibli piano soundtrack… It helps.

– Go to teachers for help. Stop wasting your time during autonomous block and go to those teachers.

– Utilize your resources: personally, videos on YouTube help[ed]. Especially for chemistry.

– Keeping your room clean can help you focus.

– Stop BSing your way through homework.

– Create an effective study group. This does not mean find a friend who will do everything for you.

– Making connections will help you memorize things better (ie: draw diagrams).

– No naps longer than 20 minutes.

– Already have the colleges you want to go to and write a couple of essays. Don’t write about why you are perfect. Colleges want personality (this can also be shown through the style in which you write it in). Also, just because it’s a top notch college doesn’t mean it’s your best fit. Moreover, watching vlogs of people who go to that specific college can help you understand the environment of the school.

– Get your teacher Recs. ASAP.

– Focus less on standardized tests during your summer. You can’t learn and magically improve your score. If you have been taking SATs for more than a year and your scores haven’t changed, stop.

– Know your priorities.

– Don’t get angry at those who have college consultants write their essays. They won’t get far in life. Getting into a good college isn’t everything.

– Don’t judge other people based on what college they are applying to. They have their reasons and you have yours.

– Don’t judge where people get in either. Not everyone is confident about college.

– Don’t let your parents force you to apply to a specific school. Just take it into consideration. If you don’t like it, don’t apply. It’s a waste of money.” – Grace Kim (’17)

Believe me, it does get better. Second semester just flies by, and you will find yourself sitting in the seniors’ section during pep rallies. Sooner or later, you’ll be walking down the aisle during the graduation ceremony, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. It’s important to pursue high achievement in academia, but don’t forget about the one and only high school experience you get. Try to find time to spend with your friends or your favorite teachers, seek help when you need to, and don’t pull all nighters – they don’t help. Good luck, and always know you can talk to upperclassmen when you’re in need of encouraging words.

– Leona Maruyama (’17)

Featured Image & Banners: Crescentia Jung (’19)

10 Things To Do During Pre-College Summer

High School has ended and graduation is over – now what? Here are 10 things to do during the summer for all the bored future college freshmen out there.

Header Summer is a time of sugar, spice, and everything nice. It’s a time you finally get to be dreamy, wear that swimming suit you’ve been dying to try on, and eat your favorite ice-cream flavor that’s back in style. It’s a time—a very memorable one, indeed—when you’re allowed to be crazy and carefree without the loads of schoolwork dragging you back to reality. It’s when summer life becomes your reality. But for those with the college countdown ready to go, this summer is a bit different, special. Before packing bags and hitting the waves, all seniors AKA pre-college students should give the below to-do-list a try.


1 Before you embark on your crazy summer expeditions, whip out your high-school yearbook and shuffle through all the heart-warming messages your friends scribbled. Relive all the favorite memories that resurface, relish all the “thank you’s” and rare compliments that your friends were too shy to say in person, and get closure on your high school life. Once you accept the fact that you’re no longer a high-schooler, you’re set and ready to go.


2 Summer is a time of starting anew. Restock on your old wardrobe; you’re probably going to go shopping anyway. Throw away—or even better, give away—your freshmen year clothing that are gathering dusty bunnies in the corner of your room, and say goodbye to all your preppy clothing! Besides your closet, your room also will also need a makeover. Get rid of all the unopened AP prepbooks, piles of SAT vocabulary, and months-old school worksheets—you’re done with that life!


3 Especially for those attending college abroad, your all-time favorite places will no longer be of walking distance. Go as often as possible to your respective restaurants or cafes, order your beloved entrees, and take long, slow bites. Commit them to memory for you to think of when you’re later munching on the bland dining hall food.


4 The time of dreaming and listing is over; go take a dive at your bucket list. Always wanted to dye your hair pink? Go for it! Wanted to combine your favorite foods into one, gigantic bundle of a mess? Why not? After all, you’re only young once. When else are you going to use your youth as an excuse?


5 Whether you fly across the ocean or stay in the country, go wherever your heart desires. Going on road trips with your friends is an option, or you can even simply go camping right outside your house. Just make sure to make out the most of what little time you have.


6 Whenever, wherever, and whatever you do, make sure to take a camera along with you. Pictures can help you remember minuscule details and even cheer you up when you feel homesick. Why not even upload them on social media? After all, your memories may fade but you’ll still have the pictures to keep for life.


7 Sure, summer is fun but spending it with someone else will make it even better. Before you head off to college for another round of academically packed schedules, find a lovely girl/boy, strike up a conversation, and have a short summer fling! It’s sweet and fun—in an innocent way, of course.


8 Say goodbye to your mother’s food and hello to the dining hall. If not, learn how to cook dishes of your own. No, not toasting bread, boiling ramen, or scrambling eggs, but real food like fettuccine alfredo, casseroles, and stir-fries. Soon enough, with practice, practice, and practice you may be able to whip up a gourmet meal.


9 After all your wild journeys, take time to settle down with a good book. You finally have time to read for pleasure, not for school, so attack the pile of books that you’ve neglected for a while. Fantasy? Romance? Classic? Whichever you choose, it will calm you down and provide you with some alone-time and an opportunity for introspection.


10 Last, but certainly not least, make time for your lovelies. Soon, you’ll be an ocean away from your family and the next time you see them may be during Christmas. Make sure to create new memories and take advantage of your mother’s home cooked meals—you’ll miss them. Don’t neglect your friends either. Be a teen, stock up on snacks, and prepare a massive sleepover that you’ll never forget.  


In the end, just enjoy every second. You only experience this carefree summer once, so cherish it—you definitely deserve to.


– Emily Kim (’16)

Headers by Yunji Lee

Graduation ’15 Part IV: Gratitude for the Graduates

Just two words: thank you.


All beautiful things must come to an end, and this beautiful class of 2015 and their beautiful – questionable word choice – time here at KIS has also come to a dissolution.


oh-lina---graduation_17714566284_oBeginning with the music department’s annual – yet still stunning – ensemble, to Mr. van Moppes’ modest, genuine speech, to Joonyon Park’s striking solo. From Cindy Lim’s beautiful high-note melodies, to Jaehyun Park’s joyous serenade to the class of 2015, all the way to Ara Cho’s usual moment of selfie; this graduation was filled with all things cheerful, unique, K15story-worthy, just like the class of 2015.



Seniors, your class in its own entity has made a difference here at KIS. Your unparalleled leadership – whether you recognize it or not – has closed the wide chasm between upperclassmen and underclassmen, moving KIS away from the rigidness of a typical Korean society, and brought comfort and inclusiveness, and “joy” into our lives (as Jaehyun Park so eloquently sang), all of which the underclassmen will hopefully have enough responsibility to carry onto the next generation of KIS. This class has produced, by far, the largest number of competent leaders, and though the current juniors are burdened by the thought of following after your foot steps and filling up the ineffably large shoes you’ve left behind, these two overused words cannot be truer: thank you.

oh-lina---graduation_18149440788_o oh-lina---graduation_18338633621_o

Thank you for showing us how to have fun and enjoy each others’ company amidst the most stressful times. Thank you for leading by example, not by words. Thank you for being our friend, not our sunbaes.

But most of all, thank you for being you – the humble, creative, self-driven, and funny, you.

– Lina Oh (’16)

Graduation 2015:

Part 1: High School Bucket List

Part 2: “If Only I…”

Part 3: Final Remarks

Graduation ’15 Part III: Final Remarks

“You are young only once so don’t fear the adventure. At the end, you’ll find out that the things you feared were actually nothing special.” Chaewon Lee

grad pt 3

We tend to moan in agony when asked about our days in high school, saying that it was a hectic time filled with academic burdens – the all too familiar banal hardships. Yet we all know that it would be a lie that cherishable moments didn’t constitute our time at KIS at all. The graduates of Class of 2015 bring the good times into perspective as they reflect on their younger years and light-hearted moments of bliss that have been commonly overlooked.


Chaewon Lee


It’s been almost 8 years since I came to attend Korea International School from the States. As I was transitioning from a timid middle school student to a high school student, there were uncountable parts that I worried about. But as I was meeting old and new companions from this school, I found out that nothing was new. You are young only once so don’t fear the adventure. At the end, you’ll find out that the things you feared were actually nothing special. Also, do not forget to cherish the moment. Do not waste time thinking about your future all the time. You should be feeling grateful of what you are doing at present life. I’ll miss every little bits of KIS: from awkward skybridge encounters to elevators at the back side of the G building. But mostly, my friends who always stayed beside me whenever I had difficult times in either human relationships or academics.  Although I have to admit that only few will stay in touch with me after the graduation, I want to thank the Class of 2015 for bearing with me. I personally want to recognize Soohyun Kim (’15) and Dain Lee (’15) for the best memories. Even if each of us had different philosophies, we, at last, finished on the same line. In the end, friends are true presents in your high school life. I want to thank and congratulate the Class of 2015!becky-nostalgic-class-of-2016-lifestyle--4_18145204949_o

John Park


I’m going to miss the people more so than anything else. Over the nine years that I’ve been a part of this community, I’ve made countless memories and valuable friendships, some of which I’ve been maintaining for all nine years. Although a new beginning awaits in college, thinking about how I’ll be leaving my second home and my friends gives me this wretched sensation. Perhaps, this is what you call bittersweet. I’ll truly miss the spontaneous visits to the zoo, long bike rides to Incheon, the Busan trip, overseas MUN conferences, EOW book club meetings, and, not to mention, SLC gaming at 10:30 PM. Without doubt, the memories and bonds I’ve made throughout my stay at KIS will always remain as a significant part of my life. I still remember in 4th grade, Joseph and I made bets on who would read the most books in a month. In 5th grade, sadch and I were soccer fanatics who would practice after school everyday even with intimidating high schoolers. In 7th grade sonch, jeongs, and I would meet up, say we’re working on Chinese projects, and end up just messing around. In 9th grade, I recall being with my XC teammates on the trunk of the van, soaked wet from running in the rain during the Guam race. Now looking back, wow… it’s been quite a long journey. For these past three years, I was always in the crowd congratulating the previous seniors on their graduation. It sure does feel weird now that it’s my turn to step onto the stage and shake Mr. Drakes’ hand. I’ll miss you, KIS.


 Jessica Um


This past year has marked my 9th and final year at Korea International School. The most valuable part of high school that I will be taking away as I transition into college will be the countless relationships I’ve built up with different students and teachers. The tight community at KIS has allowed me to learn and grow so much from the people I have had the privilege of being surrounded by, and I will be forever grateful to call myself a proud Phoenix. I hope you will too cherish and make the most out of the moments you have left in KIS. Good luck and most importantly, always have fun! 

Eric Kwon

becky-nostalgic-class-of-15-lifestyle---9_18143775820_oThey’re too many memories to say which one was the best. So in short, I’m going to miss all my upperclassmen and underclassmen during my basketball seasons, my cafe sessions in Bundang, my road trip squad and my bi-yearly trips to Seoul.


Philip Bae

becky-nostalgic-class-of-15-lifestyle---10_18143679518_oYou know how when you go off to college, you don’t receive much opportunity to join sports since it’s too competitive? That’s why I’m going to miss bonding with my teammates.





 Daniel Suh


As a person who is relatively younger compared to students in my grade, I often felt I like I was more comfortable with the underclassmen. We had so many things in common that we were able to predict how each other felt and expect how others would act. This relationship I had with the underclassmen significantly helped me throughout the school year and gave me unforgettable memories that I will miss forever.




Certainly, it’s hard to admit that high school’s over and college looms only months ahead, but what more can be done than to be thankful of the memories?

To the graduates: Blueprint wishes the best of luck on your upcoming journey, expresses gratitude for sharing your innocent recollections, and congratulates you on enduring high school with grace. To the underclassmen: hold dear the days that you take for granted, since time will buzz by without you being conscious of its agility.

With the school year coming to an end and academics coming to a slight cease, it is reckoned that we take a break to look back and appreciate what we had, or what we still have. Who knows? These moments may never come again.

– Becky Yang (’16)


Graduation 2015:

Part 1: High School Bucket List

Part 2: “If Only I…”

Part 4: Gratitude for the Graduates

Graduation ’15 Part II: “If Only I…”

If only I knew it would end so soon.

“If only I…  

…studied more.”  

…had met you earlier.”  

…procrastinated less.”  

With graduation in less than 12 hours (I can’t believe it either), the inevitable game of reflect and regret begins for both the upperclassmen and underclassmen. The year is winding down to a close: AP exams have been administered, final projects have been assigned, and yearbooks signed ad nauseum. All the while, for the graduating seniors of the Class of 2015, an entire chapter of life is slowly coming to a close, while a new one is waiting to be opened.  

Endings are liberating; but it’s difficult to savor the end with the bitter taste of regret lurking in the background.  

If only I tried out for the soccer team.

If only I talked to him/her earlier.

If only I pushed myself a little harder in senior first semester.  

Here are what some seniors had to say:

No matter how hard we try, regrets will always be embedded in our lives, in our day-to-day, 24 hour experiences.  

Although it is difficult to detach ourselves from the past, and although regret is never the healthiest form of thought, perhaps it may be a suitable thought during a time of frequent goodbyes and farewells. Of course, regrets suck, but hopefully we remember to still put the losses to good use, and to remember to always counterbalance it with our gratitude and good memories. It’s to help remind ourselves of the values and failures we’ve collected over the years – a reminder to live our lives to the fullest, from the small, daily things that we do, to the special things we get to share with the special people in our lives.  

To wrap it up, here is Emma Yang with her two cents on senior year:

“Being a senior is odd. While a chapter of your life is closing down, another novel world opens up in front of you. It is a battered mixture of anxiety, excitement, confusion, and many more inadequately inexplicable emotions. However, here I am, gratified to have made friends that follow through every minor mishaps I take on and to have met people that inspire me on another level. I will always have an indebted appreciation for all the memories and experiences that KIS has bestowed and will reminisce, always, about the moments we shared together!”

  Goodbye seniors :’)

– Jaye Ahn (’16)

Graduation 2015:

Part 1: High School Bucket List

Part 3: Final Remarks

Part 4: Gratitude for the Graduates