Seven Final Thoughts about Senior Year (Graduation Edition)
One final blog post about senior year and graduating, I promise.
1) I think I have finally figured out why the college process can induce so much stress. The essence of college admissions is comparison, the root of all unhappiness.
Without comparing students to one another, colleges wouldn’t be able to coherently choose candidates for admission, and we know that.
We would never be dissatisfied with our own accomplishments if we didn’t look around and see what others have done with their lives.
I think my college is fantastic, but when I remember that I have friends going to Harvard, I can’t help but feel a bit petty compared to others.
But looking around has led to competition, and it has given me some sort of drive to improve, and improve I have…but it’s important to recognize that this drive can come at certain psychological costs.
Is this how our high school careers culminate? The senior class being sorted and filed into different colleges? No, because I see people embracing the fantastic now, taking gap years and never waiting for the future.
2) When graduation finally happens and we’re on our own this summer, high school will be over for good and college will not have started yet.
People will ask us how school is going and for a moment, we’ll hesitate about whether to talk about high school or college, unsure about if we ought to identify as a high school senior or a college freshman.
Being stuck in the no-where zone isn’t so bad though, is it? Labels can be limiting.
My friend said something like, change is something we think we understand until we encounter it first-hand. When it’s all over, we’ll still be reeling.
Everything changes in senior year. The people you know now will change, your relationships with them will change, but most importantly, you will change.
Let it happen. At the beginning of the academic year (August/September 2013) you called it “the beginning of the end”, but now, it’s just “the end”.
Our transformations will be captured in Instagram pics labeled #transformationtuesday, but also…
3) For the past three summers I’ve kept these nostalgia boxes, and this summer will be no different.
They’re just shoe boxes, to be honest. At the end of summer, or when I return from a trip, I’ll quickly chuck something in there if I remember to…a receipt, an invitation, a ticket stub…
While photos may be worth a thousand words, nothing beats an experience that flows from your fingertips and warms your whole body through when you touch an artifact that is of very little value to anyone but yourself.
Here’s an excerpted version of what I found:
- graduation invitations from 2 years ago
- chemistry notes with tear stains on them
- friendship bracelet that broke after years and years of resistance (a metaphor?)
- chopsticks from a sushi restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan
- a wristlet from the ice skating rink, with “GABY AND SIMS 6/10/12” scribbled in black sharpie
- a plane ticket from my first trip to Vegas in 10th grade
- sophomore year poetry (Four walls enclose us // Separated from the real world // Don’t fight fire with decimals // Preparing for the world ahead?)
4) No two stories of someone’s high school experience will be the same, despite how hard the film industry tries to capture our experiences in 90 minutes or so of utter bullshit.
I think people who do anything but speak very, very broadly about high school in an attempt to relate to others are mislead about just how well they can do so.
Anything of material or factual importance that I’ve revealed about my high school experience is relevant to perhaps 2% of the nation’s population of seniors, but perhaps the misconceptions that I’ve cited or metaphors that I’ve highlighted have gotten across.
5) The idea of high school drawing to a close does strange things to our brain. We start to allude authority figures and break norms by which we normally abide.
Whether it be in the form of a bucket list, a senior prank, or something else, you will find that the end affects the decisions we make.
We will reach out to people we didn’t normally before, we will speak up where we normally haven’t, all in the name of “I’m almost out of here, so why not?”
Sometimes, those contributions to our personalities stick with us, becoming a part of who we are.
6) I’ve always struggled with deciding whether or not I should maintain high school relationships.
Many a time I’ve considered looking someone straight in the face, saying something like, “I don’t care how mad you are, because this is almost over anyways, and I won’t have to deal with you for much longer.”
But when you’re on the receiving end of that back-hand slap like that, it’s a different story.
You ask the same question when it comes to friendships. Do I hold on or let go of this rope? Is there even someone on the other end, or have they already let go? Has this heavy weight just been dragging along behind me, holding me back?
7) The way we finish high school is just as important as the way we start.
With my school’s graduation just around the corner and AP exams finally drawing to a close, soon I’m going to refer to high school as a phase of my life, now in the past.
This is beginning to sound like the graduation speech that never was.
This is not the end. I’ve always wondered if I’d one day run out of things to say on this blog, but that possibility is quickly dismissed when I remember this:
Everyday brings some new experience that shows me something new. Just as high school is one story drawing to a close, another story is waiting to be written.
Where are you going? I knooowww about three weeks ago I went to a tourney and met some varsity kids. They asked me where I’m from and what major I’m taking and I was, like, “Well, I haven’t graduated. Yet.”
As for relations with others, I’m kinda glad I don’t have to bear some people anymore. Some people are great to hang out with in small doses only.
Northwestern! Which tournament did you go to? And yeah, I kind of get your drift…sometimes high school feels like you’re chained to people 5 days a week, with no escape.
Since I’m in another country, so… yeah, you might not know it.
ALSA Universitas Indonesia. I came to just watch my juniors initially (and maybe catch up with some friends, but they didn’t come *sobs*) and ended up swinging. It’s great for experience, though.