A Grad's Perspective
I was counting down the end from day one. And now it's over. I'm done.
Those were my thoughts on May 24, 2013 when I walked across stage to shake the principals hand and be handed my "diploma." (No one actually got it until roughly a week later.)
High school, there is so much to say. It consumed the last four years of my life. It's strange to say it's over. It's over. Doesn't that feel weird graduates? It's like after a book you read, whether good or cringe worthy, you finally read the last words, of the last sentence on the last page, and as the last syllables slip of the tongue and there's nothing left to read, you just put the book down, sit back, and think: wow, it's over.
These last four years have been filled with laughter and tears. I've had some amazing teachers that I don't know that I could've made it through with out, and some I could've gone with out. I've had teachers that made me enjoy a subject I normally hated because of how passionate they were about their job, and I've had teachers make me want to never even see that subject again. Same with people, though I didn't have many friends in high school, the few that were really there for me, even if they weren't my classmates, helped me more than words can express. These past four years are something I won't forget, but I don't want to revisit.
While I can't say that these were the best four years of my life, I can say, I have learned more in the past four years than I ever had before. And well, that was the point, wasn't it?
So without further adieu, here's the valuable life lessons I learned:
I learned first and foremost it's okay if everyone doesn't like you, even adults. No one is perfect, and if perfection is what you're striving for, stop. I had always had issues with wanting to please everyone, so much that I lost a sense of what I even wanted. I ended up disappointing myself and others. I learned that sometimes I wouldn't ever be liked by some people, no matter what I did. That's one of the biggest life lessons I think that anyone could ever learn, it's okay to be disliked. You know why? Because if you're striving for the attention of the people who don't even like you, you're looking past those amazing people who really do. As Dita Von Teese said, "You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches."
"The only true friends you'll ever really have in a life time you can count on one hand." My dad said that. And I guess it's true. That, and family is forever. That's another thing I've learned during the last four years, that even when friends hurt you, turn their backs on you, "break up" with you, or leave you sitting completely alone, you'll always have your true friends and of course, your family. I couldn't ever thank my family, related and the ones that have become my family, enough for all the love and support they have given me. Even at my lowest lows and the times I didn't deserve to be loved, they were still there for me, still loving me. And those people, I wouldn't replace them for the world. They are better than any of the fakers.
To be able to be alone is to have a power that most never attain. I learned this when I realized that some of the people who said they cared about me, only were concerned when someone or something else more interesting wasn't around. Those weren't the people that I could call crying, that would set down what they're doing to help, or be there for me when I'm feeling low. But those were the people who were so insecure about being alone, or putting the truth out there and making true friends, that they settled for people they only half liked. I learned that when you're feeling low, those "friends" of yours that liked you for your bubbly, sassy attitude, exclusively like you for your "bubble, sassy attitude." If you aren't yourself that day, chances are they aren't going to ask if you're okay. And trust me, you can feel completely alone even when in a crowd.
You can't be good at everything. And I'm definitely not. But I was under the impression based off of elementary and middle school, I was an excellent scholar. I was in the AIG program and I felt special to be "one of the smart kids." But being that goes out the window along with the program, because there's no AIG past middle school. When the program ended, I wasn't special anymore because there was a lot of other kids who were ten times more intelligent and interesting than I was. I learned that when I made my first B, and when I didn't know the answer but everyone else seemed to. But it's okay. I know now that I am good at things when I'm interested and love doing it. I'm pretty good at math and English, but I found out I'm awful at anything involving the sciences, and don't get me started on history. (It's the memorization that kills me!) But while I'm not good at everything, the point is, I am good at some things, and well, that's all that matters in real life.
There are better things than high school. I think that is the main thing for kids to learn, especially the ones that dreaded getting up everyday to go to high school, it gets better. I'm hardly in the "better" part, but I know it's there. And I'm more than happy to be getting there. I can't wait to spend my time studying, learning, and being creative at UNC Asheville, and working somewhere great. I can't wait to be on the schools paper and get involved in all the interesting things Asheville has to offer. I can't wait to go on road trips and look into travelling again, maybe with my family this time. I can't wait to figure out who I really want to be, and go forth into that. High school is history, my future is at the tips of my fingers; I'm ready.
To everyone that contributed to my learning, life lessons and actual lessons, thank you. Thank you for helping me become who I am today, someone much wiser than who I was four years ago. Thank you for helping me grow, even if the lesson was painful, it was necessary. For the friends and family that have been there for me through it all and will be the rest of my life, "thank you" doesn't even express the gratitude I wish to extend from my heart to yours. And as for those of you who were never there, good riddance.
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org