An ode to AP classes, “bahala na” and farts


Samuel (Sammy) Minioza

My second birthday party in Daly City, CA in the three-bedroom house I shared with cousins, aunts and grandparents.

I think my favorite memory from Dougherty has been all the times I’ve farted in class.

In Orchestra, in APUSH and even last week in 4th period Econ; before I was the milk menace, I was the brigadier general of the seventh farting battalion. Countless times I’ve sat in the middle of a classroom, bored out of my mind during a mind-numbing lecture. Without a phone to check or peer to talk to, I’ll see the light. Like my own Damascene revelation, I’d feel a bubbling bloat in my rear end, and I’d let out the biggest, baddest, funniest stink bomb I could.

Dougherty students, this one’s for you: stop taking things so seriously. I’ve spent four years at this school hearing about this mythical, omnipotent “toxic academic culture,” yet all the while, despite taking AP and honors classes, I’ve never truly felt “stressed.” 

I was taught to laugh at everything and everyone — to always find the fun in life.

Instead, I spent the last four years laughing at other people, laughing at myself and laughing at the ridiculousness of the world around me.

What I’ve realized is that through all of this noise about why we have toxic academics, be it Asian American culture, systemic pressures or socioeconomic realities,  the question we should be asking isn’t who’s to blame for this culture, it’s why should we care?

I grew up in Daly City with my Filipino cousins and friends, in neighborhoods where school expectations don’t exist and where not everyone graduates high school—where, as a Filipino, I didn’t take Kumon or go to GeniusKids over the summer; I played Pusoy Dos and watched Pacquiao fights. I was taught to laugh at everything and everyone — to always find the fun in life. 

So when I came to Dougherty, I think the reason I felt so removed from that academic culture was because I simply didn’t care. Really, I think that’s the problem at Dougherty. Most people at this school just care way too much.

How many APs are you taking? What’d you get on the HPC test? What internships have you had? Is AP Psych an easy five? Some of us here at Dougherty spend so much time obsessing over these minutia and trivial pursuits when the reality is, none of that matters. 

In forty years, it won’t be the score you got on your reading test for AP Lit that you’ll remember or how many homework assignments you completed in history class.

What you’ll remember is that time you farted in the middle of your Calculus BC test and burst out laughing. All the stupid articles you wrote in your high school newspaper that made people unreasonably mad or were ridiculously satirical. Whether you lightened up and watched spring white petals sway in the wind instead of worrying about your AP Lit test next period.

I often think back to a Filipino ethos my uncles say: “bahala na.” It roughly translates to “whatever happens, happens,” “it’ll be fine,” “don’t worry.”

Dougherty, the cure to our academic woes isn’t going to be some mythical systemic or cultural change. The pressure you and I feel isn’t going to be snapped away if we just keep reminding ourselves it exists. No, the cure is bahala na.

So this summer, instead of mindlessly taking part in the annual pilgrimage to college summer camps, just try spending time in the park laughing with your friends. Spend your summer trolling people on the internet, or making dumb voices and saying ridiculous things in a Safeway aisle. Tell a random stranger you’re in love with them. Bait your team in Valorant, make terrible short movies with your phone and spray your parents with water guns. Dougherty, learn to fart in class. You won’t regret it.