NEW BRITAIN – Excited to become independent and live on her own, New Britain High School Valedictorian Jessica Taing is ready to leave high school behind.
“I’m going to be sad when I leave, because I love my school and teachers,” Taing said. “I still can’t believe that it’s the end already.”
Taing will be heading to UConn in the fall to study chemistry, with hopes to eventually get into the medical field. “I definitely want to explore more within the field and see what I would want to do,” she said. “But so far I would like to either become a physician assistant or go into dermatology.”
Born in Bridgeport but raised in New Britain, Taing said she will always have a home here and already plans on visiting her old high school in the future.
“College is going to be a big change. I’m excited and nervous because I feel like everything is happening so fast and it’s all coming at me right now. But I’m really looking forward to it because I know I need to learn to be more independent and be on my own,” she said. “I have two older sisters and they always took care of me. So now I have to learn how to do that myself.”
Navigating through school during a pandemic was a struggle for the outgoing senior. Taing said it made school way harder than it usually is, especially with her heavy workload that included four advance placement courses in her last year. She was also involved with the Honor Society, Health Occupations Students of America, Asian American Club, played trumpet with the marching band and performed in several school musicals.
“Getting motivation was the hardest part because we were always at home, which was really distracting,” she said. “It was also difficult because we didn’t really know what to expect. There wasn’t a lot of expectations or excitement, so it made me feel nonchalant in a way.”
On some level, adapting to unexpected changes over the last year helped Taing prepare for her future away from home.
“I know I’ll push a little harder now because I know I can do it, even when the motivation isn’t there,” she said.
As Taing looks back on her high school career, she credits her two older sisters, both NBHS graduates, for guiding her way through teenage life, giving advice on classes, and making sure she knew to ask for help when she needed it.
“My parents were also always there to support me whenever I needed anything,” she said. “They’re not too familiar with the school processes, but I know I can go to them when I run into problems so it’s comforting.”
When asked what she will miss the most about high school, Taing said she will miss hanging out with her friends, especially since they were robbed of so much time together because of the pandemic.
“We’ve done so many things together so that’s going to be sad when we leave,” she said. “But I am excited for the future.”