Last year, my English teacher had us write these anonymous creative writing papers that were due every Thursday. They were on various topics, like “greatest regrets,” “nature,” and “nostalgia,” and we would pass them around in a circle, leaving comments on the back of each. Lots of the time I wrote them last minute, late at night, and frequently they were frankly awful.
But by summer I missed writing them. They had given me the chance to pause and look around at least once a week, drop everything, and just write. I think that, subconsciously, I chose to write this column as a replacement for the “Thursday Paper.” Some columns have been scattered and rushed, some have been messy, but I wrote a column every week because I couldn’t help but look around during senior year in high school.
It is now 10 a.m. on a Friday, and in a state of complete delirium (I was at Disneyland until six this morning) I am too tired to realize what it means to graduate. It seems like all prior graduations were false, there to boost our naïve little spirits, when all along we knew that everything the following year would be basically the same. Like every high school graduate before me, I cannot grasp the simple fact that I am finished, done, and everything will be different next year. I know this is universal because no matter how I word it, it sounds undeniably clichéd.
My mom’s friend also went to Disneyland when he graduated from high school, and he remembers waking up at one point in the afternoon, post-Disneyland, thinking, “Wow. I’m done.” I know the same thing will happen to me. In the constant frenzy of movies like The Breakfast Club, centered around “the high school experience,” things can get wonderfully corny—which makes me tend to underplay anything that is a bold marker of high school: homecoming, finals week, prom, etc. But for once I have allowed myself to join in and embrace authentic reasons to be corny. I keep marveling over the fact that high school is the end. No matter what we decide to do after graduation, childhood as we know it is over, leaving an infamous bittersweet feeling.
I’ve graduated from high school.
Can’t wait for what’s next.