Graduation Column 2006

When you read this column, I will be free. Free of homework, lockers, pop quizzes, cafeteria food, and fluorescent lights—well, at least until college starts next fall. But something will be different then.
The small things I take for granted every day will be gone, reduced to only memories…that’s depressing. The stupid plastic fence that I tripped over every morning on my way to band, the horrible parking jobs of my fellow students, even “Lake Alleman”—all that will be replaced with another fence, another parking lot, another giant puddle—everything’s changing and I don’t know what to think.
On one hand, hooray! No more high school—and that means No. More. Uniforms. EVER!!–Which means that I loose celebrating with my friends when I find a pair of blue pants. Hooray!– I’m finally done with paying a dollar for a bagel—but that means I loose sitting with my friends at lunch every day, complaining about the lack of a salad bar (even though we all know that we’d still buy french fries).
I’ve heard college is wonderful, but it seems to me that my time in high school was amazing… not just learning—it was the stupid antics that made everything worthwhile. It was falling off the stage, or laughing at the Great Gatsby. It was watching 20 people fall asleep in one class period or listening to friends tell their tales of high school hilarity.
I’m ready to graduate, don’t get me wrong—I want new experiences -I want to grow, change, better my mind–but at the same time, I wish that my friends could come with me, that my favorite teachers would still teach me.
People keep asking me if I’m excited for graduation. I usually say “yes” and change the subject. Even now, 6:19 AM Saturday morning, I don’t know how I feel about all of this. I’m excited, but also scared out of my mind that my life is going to be a dismal failure and nothing I’ve planned will come to fruition. I worry about many things, but most importantly, I worry that I’ll settle for less than what I’ve dreamed. That’s a cheery thought.
People keep saying “Oh, high school is the best time in your life”. Now, I don’t know about my fellow graduates out there, but hearing this scares me. This is as good as it gets? Sure, it was tons of fun, but telling me this is the high point of my life does not exactly contribute to my willingness to fling myself out into the real world.
I’m sorry to disappoint folks…I guess I thought that by writing this column I could figure out how I felt, but now I’m even more confused.
But maybe that’s how I’m supposed to feel. Maybe I’m not supposed to know right now. Maybe I’m supposed to be anxious and excited at the same time. Maybe (this is just a crazy thought here), but maybe that’s why I’m so conflicted. I just want to know that everything will work out okay in the end.
And maybe that’s what scares me. I hate not knowing. I hate guessing, I hate planning and I hate waiting. But that’s what the future is, isn’t it? Isn’t just hoping and working and striving towards your goals at all costs?
This morning I watched the sun rise. It was amazing.. It was like looking on the future—there is always going to be another sun rise, a new day to live and grow and change. Maybe next year I’ll have to watch the sun rise from another window or another hill, but the things that matter, the things that make me “me” are not going to disappear just because I park my car in a new parking lot or meet new people.
And maybe that’s the answer that I was looking for all along.

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