Staff of BDT: Kaitlyn Luu

Finding a new resolve her freshman year


Kaitlyn Luu (9) cuts herself a slice of cake on her 14th birthday at Thanksgiving dinner. She spent her Thanksgiving break at her aunt’s house in San Jose with her mom and two siblings.

Olivia Mendoza

As freshman Kaityln Luu wakes up every morning, she readies herself to fill up every hour, minute, and second of the day doing something she deems as productive. For this ambitious first-year, Luu looks towards each new day as an opportunity to fulfill a task that brings her joy.

This bright-eyed and bushy-tailed fourteen-year old finds motivation to complete every task she has on her list as if it is her last day on earth. With a new perspective on life, especially after coming out of the pandemic, Luu makes it a priority to set herself up for success, not only now but for the rest of her life.

“I don’t get enough sleep at night because I feel like I need to be doing something like reading or studying for a test, or going to taekwondo, volunteering, I don’t want to waste time,” Luu said.

However, this level of focus has not always been present in her life. Finding a way to balance every aspect of her busy life is now considered a blessing. But only a few years before, she struggled to find motivation on the daily, and in hindsight, that period in her life has really shaped her into the person she is today.

“When the pandemic hit, I had no external motivation,” said Luu. “I really didn’t have motivation for anything in life at that time I was just existing, not really living.”

As distance learning continued for a few years, she quickly saw everything that had once brought any meaning, slipping away. In 7th grade, Luu enrolled in a full course of honors classes, but as COVID continued longer than expected, her grades slipped like a landslide and as she approached her 8th-grade year, she had to drop to regular classes.

During this transitional period of her young teenage life, she had time to realize what mattered most, but more importantly, she had the opportunity to turn her academic life around as she entered high school.

“My dad, the night before the first day of school told me that I needed to get my act together because this stuff actually matters, this is what colleges will be looking at,” said Luu. “So that’s why I signed up for honors and AP Human Geography [this year].”

Luckily, life returned back to normal. As for Luu, her academic and athletic life once again became a constant factor in her life.

“I guess I never really liked learning because I was always forced to,” Luu said. “Very recently I started realizing that I do want to succeed and I do want to have a future in life, so I don’t know where this motivation is coming from but it’s nice.”

As for the future, Luu wishes to one day work as a journalist or editor. Gathering inspiration from her creative idol, Greta Gerwig, she admires her ability to bring a book to life, and visually pull words into a cinematic masterpiece.

From such a realistic viewpoint at such a young age, Luu has the time to slow down and truly enjoy every aspect of her adolescence.