I rushed myself through high school. I wrote research papers overnight, dashed home at midnight after parties and dances to study until dawn, and memorized vocabulary words during water breaks at cheerleading practice. I wanted there to be 48 hours in a day so that I could do everything and be with everyone but I rarely took time to, well, smell the roses -- which may be why a friend of mine created a perfumed tissue paper flower bouquet for me.I graduated high school yesterday, and my last week of high school was just rushed as any other week in high school. I went to my last prom (I'm in the middle, in case you couldn't tell by my dress) where I managed to not trip, even though dancing was functionally difficult.
I spent two days with my senior class in Laguna Beach, where we scraped our knees on the beach and got sunburned and strolled around town. We watched "How I Met Your Mother" on the bus ride home and I admitted to laughing at the shallow guy jokes.
So I came back home. I participated in and rejoiced in the senior prank. I attended Baccalaureate, where one of my dearest guy friends, the Harvard-bound salutatorian, gave his speech.
And then I graduated -- but not until after an excruciating graduation rehearsal, where I learned to stand up one beat after the word "recess" and to smile pretty for the camera. All under the scorching sun in the mountain winery.
The Harker School was the best decision I had ever made in the short eighteen years of my life (this is for all the prospective parents who are googling the school). I am going to miss Socratic method discussions, the carving station at lunch, idling away my free period with my friends, the convenience of the Harker Homework Management System, ego-boosting and ego-deflating Monday school meetings, football games filled to the stands with parents instead of students, using laptops in practically every class, getting away with dress code violations, and everything that made my high school experience both atypical and typical.
I'm not going to miss getting in trouble for dress code violations, Mathematica, strict dance rules, and always having too much good food at lunch that test my will power.
Oh, and I don't know who are more inspiring -- the students or the teachers. Thank you to both the students and the teachers for teaching me that education is one of the greatest gifts and privileges we could ever attain. And you know, the riveting personal stories and ice cream sandwiches in class are pretty sweet too.
At Laguna Beach, a fellow classmate said, "My dad told me that your childhood friends are your truest friends. They're the friends you make before money, status, or jobs matter."
College is going to be fun, but I loved high school. You make friends during your awkward stages and you graduate together (hopefully) less awkwardly. You fight with your family but you'd just as well fight for them.
And for me, well, I graduated with a clear idea of who I am -- something I didn't have when I graduated from middle school four years ago. This isn't a goodbye.