So I’ve graduated. And turned eighteen. All in one week. I am now a high school graduated, college bound, legal adult.
It is now officially pathetic for me to still watch cartoons.
Despite it being a somewhat monumental birthday, I have to admit, I almost forgot about it. It’s sort of like when you have your birthday right around Christmas, there’s so much going on, and everyone’s scrambling around and buying presents and planning these big events, that your own birthday kind of falls to the side. I mean, it’s not every day you go through a major life transition. Birthdays happen every year, graduation only happens once. Well, high school graduation, at least.
It’s weird, a part of me wants to write this really in-depth, ultra-introspective, sentimental piece for this, like the sort of thing I usually write when major things happen in my life, but for this, it just seems…redundant. I’ve been listening to deep and meaningful speeches about the transition from high school to life, adolescence to adulthood, all those things, for weeks now. Everywhere I went, Six Flags, York Beach, class day, NHTP, the graduation itself, my church, even my sister’s dance recital, everything seems to love to remind you that you’re moving on. I’ve been honored and recognized and handed certificates all week, and now, with everything ending, and all the pomp and circumstance finally over, I feel like everything’s already been said.
I am immensly glad to be done with high school. It hit me on the post-grad boat (a really cool Boston harbor cruise) how utterly releived I am that it’s finally over. After the hellish experience of senior year, the planning, the plotting, the identity issues, the self-deprication, the loss of confidence, the demonic teachers, everything that I’ve been going through this year (which is, admittedly, not that much…) I finally realized that I never have to worry about any of that ever again. It was kind of like achieving an inner peace, except with a bunch of freezing, sleep-deprived teenagers on top of a boat. Everything’s finally over. It’s done. I’m done. I don’t have to worry about any of the stupid things I’d been worrying about throughout this year, I can finally just calm down.
That being said, it’s only beginning to really hit me that I’m no longer a high school student. Everytime that realization has creeped up on me, so far, it’s been a really nice feeling. But for the most part, it still feels like I’m going to have to go back to Wheeler-Smith’s room first thing tomorrow morning. I’ll still have to deal with my intense inadequacy issues while singing next to certain people in Honors Choir, I’ll still have to question my identity in Psychology, I’ll have to endure another pointless assignment in Sci-Fi, and sit through a bunch of jocks refusing to broaden their horizons and actually watch a decent movie in Film Studies. It’s all so familiar, the idiocy, the cruelty, the tediousness, everything I hate about high school. I can’t picture my life without it. Can it really be over? Have I really finally reached that point where I’m able to go leave the stupidity of high school, take away the good things, and move on with them? That’s impossible, it’s unfathomable, It’s…unreal.
How the hell did this happen?
My diploma is sitting on the table in the dining room. It’s simple and elegant, unadorned with any sort of awards or pins or honors society stickers. It just sits there, quietly official. It lacks the sort of accessories associated with someone a bit more high achieving than me, but still acts as a symbol of someone who achieved. It’s a reminder that despite all the angst, all the chaos, all the running and worrying and lack of direction, I somehow still managed to do it. I passed. I finished.
And trust me, though it’s small, that’s an achievement in itself.
And so, as the clock strikes twelve and my birthday officially ends, I’m left sitting here doing what most newly graduated, eighteen-year-olds do, wondering what comes next.
To every graduating senior out there, congratulations. Be proud. You did it. It’s over.
Till next time (which will hopefully be sooner than last time),