BY MARDALE JAY
The last twelve years of our lives have been spent in school. We moved from classroom to classroom and within those four walls we pushed ourselves to learn the skills and knowledge we are told will allow us to reach the future we so desperately want for ourselves. Soon, we will reach the moment we have spent all this time working for.
95 days, 15 hours and one minute until graduation.
The Class of 2017 is focusing on staying on track and meeting the various requirements to walk at graduation this May. While we feel a push to meet the requirements and try to fight the pull of senioritis and procrastination, we are ultimately left facing our biggest concern: to prepare ourselves for the next chapter in our young lives.
The truth of the matter is, whether we want to admit it or not the thought graduating leaves us with a bittersweet feeling. We know graduation will mean no more bell schedule, no more lunch detention, and most importantly that our identity as high school students will fade. We also know that graduation will also move us closer to finally getting to experience what we’ve been working towards for more than a decade now: college and adulthood. But reaching this juncture in our lives comes anxiety and bitterness.
We know moving forward means we have to leave behind what we spent years building: a community we feel deeply connected to.
Five days a week for the last four years, we have walked through the hallways and seen the same faces. We banded together in uncertain times. We laughed together in times of celebration. We started to define and understand ourselves as a part of this larger community. These strong bonds we developed with peers, teachers and staff have become strong and meaningful. People who were once strangers, now are considered family. Part of the procrastination we experience comes from our fear to leave this behind.
We know that beginning this new chapter in our lives will require we step outside of the community and space where we feel safe and comfortable. We must take a risk and move into the unknown. Deep down, we understand that while letting go of what we now hold is hard, not doing so would be an injustice to ourselves.
It is tempting to stay home and sleep away our final semester in an effort to avoid what we are afraid of confronting. But we must remember that the payoff is to be able to live the lives we have so desperately worked for. Not allowing ourselves to grow into something much bigger would be doing a injustice to all those who helped us get to this point. We hold an obligation to not only make ourselves proud, but to make our supporters and fellow classmates proud as well.
Are we prepared for life after high school? Of course. Are we just tired? Do we just wish we had already reached graduation and moved onto the new stage of our lives? Yes, but it isn’t this simple. It is alright for us to feel conflicted. It is alright for us to anticipate and fear the unknown experiences ahead. The senior classes before us felt this same way, and this feeling will happen for the senior classes that come after us. It’s just a small part of being seniors. We’ve worked so hard and this feeling is one we have earned.
Now, as we have less than four months left until graduation, it is up to us how we will choose to spend these fleeting moments.
As one of the Class of 2017 myself, I feel I must urge all of us to appreciate what we currently have. Whether it’s that class you love, the quick conversations you share with friends during a passing period, or that teacher who has always remained at your side– just lose yourself in appreciation of what it means to be a part of this community for this will be what we miss when we move forward into the next stage in our young lives.
When we appreciate this, we will find that the bonds we have developed with each other with withstand time and distance. When we leave, we will carry with us the lessons we have learned, memories of each other, and experiences we have shared along with the strength we have gained through these four year at Manual. This is the power of community: our bond with each other will forever be a source of support and inspiration.
Decide today to honor our collective journey. Decide today to spend our final four months together dedicated to our individual futures and to the future of our community.