From a Senior who Survived–barely

Brittney Dear, Editor

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My graduation day is approaching. The last day, the proof that I did, in fact, survive.

I never expected this day to approach so quickly. One day I was nine, sitting on the playground with a journal clamped in my hands, watching the fellow nine-year-olds climb on monkey bars and swing on the swings. I’d write about the nine-year-olds. I was always writing about them.

And now I am writing about them again, but this time, I am seventeen, almost eighteen. Those same nine-year-olds are now eighteen-year-olds. Those same kids, who once spent most of their time imagining that they were colorful dragons or chasing fellow classmates during a never-ending game of tag, are now sitting beside me, biting their nails raw and completing college application after college application, working every day after school, only to spend their money on clothes or video games because whether they believe it or not, they are still kids.

I still vividly remember my first (unofficial) day of freshman year, which was Freshmen Day. I was walking through the doors of Ryan High School with my arms crossed and my chin dipped, my floral cardigan bright against my white top.

“Oh, look how cute she is,” the seniors squealed, peering up at me. I sort of squinted my eyes at them, then proceeded.

I entered the gymnasium, sitting beside people I vaguely recognized from eighth grade. Frankly, I never talked much during those middle school years, and most of the friends I made throughout them had left to Denton High School or had moved. But, perhaps this helped because I reached out and I met people. Those people became friends, and those friends turned to steady bonds, and I like to think that during those first two years of high school, I erupted from my shell.

But, I still wrote about the people. I would watch the fifteen and sixteen-year-olds think highly of themselves, merely because they were a part of a high school. That awkward stage of middle school had ceased to exist, but now everyone was busy shaking those years off their skin.

Then came Braswell. I had to start over again, leaving my steady friendships behind. I had to find myself without them.

The years drifted by. Years consisting of cringe-worthy ‘relationships’, and friends that probably should have remained acquaintances.

We’ve all been there–we see ourselves in other people, and we relate. We connect, and then somehow, we turn into someone we’re not.

The years consisted of jealousy and heartbreaks, but equally and perhaps even more so of love, redemption, and laughs.

I had to learn the hard way that time does not stop moving. We all did, I think. We were shoved into this world that is high school, and we had to figure out how to stand up for ourselves, how to address problems.

I mean, I know I did.

But, this, in turn, made me stronger. It made all of us stronger, and it shaped us into the people we are today.

People. This was undoubtedly the most important factor of high school–the people.

There were many types of people I met along the way.There were the popular kids, who are still treated like royalty compared to everyone else. There were the jocks that were merely guys who liked football and basketball. There were the nerds, who were looked at with cocked heads, and yet, had better grades than any of us. There were the artists, the band geeks, the wallflowers, the want-to-be-emos, the cheerleaders and the Royals.

Just like the movies had predicted, there was a spot for each of us.

But, then again, we were never assigned to a certain group. No one was truly embedded to a certain label. No matter what clique we were apart of, we were unique, and people remembered us.

There was that one boy who always seemed to get his name mispronounced by a substitute. But, he never cared–he’d laugh about it with everyone else.

There was that one girl who everyone always found strangely intimidating, but in turn, had a good reason to be; she had a hidden story that made her that way.

There was that one boy who had a secret gift in art, yet never wanted to admit it to himself.

There was that boy who made everyone laugh without even trying. He’d just sit there, lost in a daze, and someone would snicker, trying to catch him in a moment. He was always so confused as to why.

There was that girl who stood tall above everyone else, and everyone knew to never cross her. But, she was truly genuine and became conflicted when people thought she wasn’t.

The people made these four years worth remembering.

Our graduation day is approaching.

No matter what grade you’re in now, or how old you are, one day you will leave this place, and you will grow up, and then you will live your life.

You may be eager to leave, and trust me, sometimes I find myself on the edge of my seat, anticipating the day when I wear my cap and gown and lift my diploma to the sky, crunching the paper and holding the proof. One day, I will use my wings and I will fly and I probably won’t ever look back.

But, before I fly away, and while I’m standing on that stage for those few seconds, I’m going to think about who I was and what I did. This part of my life is coming to an end, and it’s surely a bittersweet feeling.

Remember to just live, and enjoy every second of high school, no matter how impossible it seems at times.

Sometimes I miss Freshman Day. I miss walking through those doors, my jaw loose, my eyes wide because man was a high school a mansion compared to middle school. I miss the innocence, sitting beside people I barely knew, unaware of what was about to happen and how much I was about to change.

I was so ready to leave that I almost forgot how much I truly enjoyed it all. I enjoyed watching the people and writing about them and making sense of this strange place and this strange world.

And now we will go off to college, or we won’t–nonetheless, we will enter an even stranger world.

Perhaps, we will meet again, and we can talk about our crazy, beautiful, heartbreaking, hilarious, emotional roller-coaster that was high school.

But, if not, I will go ahead and remind you that this is just the beginning and that you can go on to achieve great things. Great, impossible things.

Best of luck,

A Senior who Survived–barely

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