Can you hear that?
Can you hear me jumping for joy? That sigh of relief?
Because I. Am. DONE.
Done. Done. Done. Done! The Regents are over and I feel a like a 5 ton weight has just been lifted from my shoulders. It’s been about a week since the exams. Last Thursday marked the beginning of my over-do summer vacation, and I’ve just been enjoying it. I spent most of the time either practicing piano, recipe hunting, developing my characters or writing. I have the next two and a half months before I start college, and I plan on using it to the full. But first, some things need to be said.
When my entire extended family was here last week to celebrate my graduation, I almost made a speech. Despite being a writer, I am awful at giving public speeches and when put on the spot like that, I feel like my brain shuts down and every word of my vocabulary goes out the door. Of course, the extremity of that depends on the who and what of the crowd I’m speaking in front of, but for the most part, that’s what happens.
So while at the graduation dinner, my dad informed me that I had to say something. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but after he said a few words, everyone looked at me. I think they were but hope they weren’t expecting a nice, thought-out speech about my journey through education and my future. Because that’s not what came out.
Here is my speech, what I wish I’d said when the opportunity presented itself.
High school. I have mixed feelings about it, really. I am more than happy to see it go and fade into my past, but it has taught me valuable lessons. Although the physical building of my high school was my bedroom and my teachers were myself and lesson guides, I learned a lot, besides the actual academics. I learned who I was.
High school has taught me how to learn. It has taught me how I learn. It taught me the true meaning of procrastination, the consequences and the ways to avoid it. I learned self-motivation and willpower and determination. It taught me patience, self-discipline, real boredom, and real interest. I wouldn’t be graduating at sixteen without any of these things.
High school has shed a little light on what it’s going to be like in the real world. A little. I am still a firm believer that high school should focus more on the necessities of adulting, like paying taxes, and focus less on parabolas (I’ll bet that the adults reading this have never had to use parabolas in their daily lives, with the exception of math and science professors). But for the most part, I think high school has given me some preparation for the real world and how to deal with it. Like I said, I learned patience while dealing with the people who work at the American School institution. That patience will come back into play when I have to deal with an employer and coworkers, and in general life. The time I spent studying for impending exams taught me the stress of deadlines and showed me healthy ways to respond to and reduce it. That’s one of the most important life skills, in my opinion.
High school has also taught me what I really enjoy, what my real priorities are. I’ve learned how to fulfill those priorities, but also how they fit in with the priorities of others. For example, my priorities have almost always been writing (specifically my novel), reading and cooking. In the past, I never had a job that would limit my time spent doing those three things. High school, although not a job, has taught me how to balance my personal interests with the priorities of the real world. What’s most important to me isn’t always the most important thing to the world. That was a crucial lesson for me to learn. Otherwise, I would’ve spent all my time writing/reading/cooking and I wouldn’t be a graduate now or anytime soon.
Now, I’m better equipped to balance my time between my personal priorities, the priorities set by my parents (which foreshadow those of my future employer and my own future family), and any other obligations I may have in the times to come.
So I’m ready to say goodbye to high school. I’ve been wanting to say goodbye to it since the day I first said hello. I’m ready to close the cover on this chapter of my life and move on to the next. And I really enjoy using that writing analogy.
To my family and friends, I want to say thank you. Thank you for supporting me in the life decisions I’ve made so far, and for supporting me in my future ones. I love you.
And now I think it’s time to say what I’ve really been wanting to say this entire time. Since I was homeschooled, I never knew what real high school was like. All I know is singing and dancing in the classrooms, hallways and cafeterias (although I do actually know that real high schoolers don’t randomly break into rehearsed song and choreographed dance mid-lunch). But I’m going to say it anyway.
Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.