On Graduation, A Personal Essay…

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It’s really hard to actually conceptualize that you’re graduating, even when you’re facing the last days of school, very rapidly at that. After waking up before six in the morning for the better part of four years to sit in a classroom in Rich Central, it just seems unfathomable that in less than three weeks, this won’t be my reality anymore. Soon enough, it’ll just be another memory in my collection that just seems to grow exponentially. Soon enough, the details will fade and be lost to time and space. Soon enough, I’ll be a Rich Central graduate.

It’s funny, but I still remember my very first day. The bus ride here was incredibly empty—only freshmen were in class today—there were cheerleaders and general school pep school squad outside waiting to greet us. For the first time, I walked into the lunchroom from door five, like I would continue to do for the next million or so days. A couple teachers, one of which ended up being my English teacher for my freshman year, handed out shirts based off name, and mine was black and gray with Delphi written on it. We never really learned what Delphi was or why it seemed so important, nor were they used again. I spent the day getting my books and moving back and forth between classes, spending a hefty amount of time with my SRT class, which was SSP before SSP was a thing.

I met one of my best friends that day. We’re not as close as we used to be, but she’s still one of the people closest to me. People used to confuse us whenever they seen us from behind, she became my twin. She was in my SRT class, though she didn’t finish the year like that.

The majority of my freshman year had the same kind of tone; I met people, I grew attached to those people, those people grew distant. Some of those people didn’t stick around to my senior year, my twin just so happened to be one of the few that stuck around. My freshman year was relatively easy, most of my classes didn’t require too much time or energy, I was taking only one AP class and I was used to taking honors classes, my friends were my friends and I was full of hope and naivety that they’d be my friends forever. I was very social and very wrong, two things that’d change over the next three years.

I didn’t do a lot my freshman year, I wasn’t interested in much more than being at home. I was incredibly shy, and the only thing that stood out to me was Snowball, though I didn’t go that year, one of my dumb choices. I did join anime club, though that was only something to fill my time, an excuse not to do my homework. I had a boyfriend by the end of year, and that was my first attachment, a learning experience in itself.

Sophomore year was entirely different. My classes were harder, the weight of the world seemed to rest on my shoulders, and I was itching to get out and do something. Anything. By this time, I’d already lost a couple people out of my friend group, summer has a way of splitting up school companionships, weeding out some of the more negative people in my life. My math teacher, Mr. Sala, bought up Scholastic Bowl, and mentioned that we got to play with buzzers—so I stuck around for a practice. I didn’t want to commit myself to anything, I only wanted to stay and play with the buzzers. After that practice, I definitely wanted to commit, and I started planning my life around it. I made sure I did more of my homework so I had time to study and practice for Scholastic Bowl, and I felt like the extra information would help me out and give me an edge. We did really well that year, and ended up in third place. I’d keep doing it for the rest of my time at Central, and I’d love every minute of it. The ending of this year and the very beginning of my junior year probably makes up the best year during high school. I lost that boyfriend, and it hurt, but it wasn’t the end of the world.

Everyone has a favorite year of high school, but I really don’t have one. I’m not sure if I have a least favorite either.

My junior year was like an odyssey. It was something completely different, more magical, than the rest of my years at Central. There was a lot of stress, with picking a college and having two AP classes, the ACT and just the general struggle of being a teenage girl. Three of those things would be alleviated by May, however. I would still continue to struggle being a teenage girl until I decided I wasn’t a teenager anymore, which still hasn’t come yet. My junior year was incredibly numbing, I barely felt anything during the first half. I let life happen, did most of my work most of the time, slacked whenever I felt necessary, and refused to let anything bother me. I started taking newspaper somewhat

Seriously, though my main priority was Scholastic Bowl. My life still revolved around my trivia competitions, and I’d gotten my best friend into it. It’s sorta surreal to think about it now, it seemed so long ago. It seems like it happened in another planet, another universe that just doesn’t make sense anymore. The first time I was actually impacted by anything junior year was probably during a Scholastic Bowl match. There was so much still just building up in my life that I just refused to let out, and we’d done pretty badly, and my phone had gotten stolen and I remember feeling so incredibly broken. I’m not sure what I did, but I just remember the broken, empty feeling. I was hollow.

The best thing that’s happened to me at Rich Central was going to Snowball. The entire experience was such an amazing, positive event, I let it set the tone for the rest of my years at Central. It impacted me in a way that I could never hope to describe in a million years. Again, it was like I was in another planet, but this one was full of understanding. It was full of things that actually mattered to me, and I will never forget it.

Besides that, the year went on as expected. My best friend went to rehab in April or May, I can’t say for sure. I don’t remember much of my junior year.

I walked into senior year feeling untouchable. I felt liberated, everyday felt like it would be the last day I would be in these same halls. The same windows, the same doors, the same building. It became nearly suffocating, and I want nothing more than to leave and not be obligated to come back for fear of failure. Now that the year’s wrapping up, I’m not afraid to fail anymore. I used to be afraid that if I failed I’d be ruined, but my senior year has definitely taught me to lighten up. There’s no reason to be so hard on myself. There’s more than enough time to stress yourself out when you’re older, but there is only one present. One moment that we’re all continuously experiencing. You shouldn’t waste it worrying and stressing and pulling your hair out over an assignment.

Being at Central hasn’t taught me much that I couldn’t get anywhere else, but I think the best thing I learned here is that it is never the end of the world. No matter what, life goes on. The sun isn’t going to burn out tomorrow. There will be a tomorrow, and a day after that, and so on. There is nothing preventing tomorrow from coming, and that I shouldn’t stop myself from enjoying today for fear of tomorrow.

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