June 26, 2013 —
Guest editorial by SARAH WILSON
On June 15th I was handed a piece of paper stating that I had successfully graduated high school. In my eyes it was meant to stand for accomplishment, hard work and liberation, but I saw nothing but a piece of paper. My four years of high school cannot be paraphrased with paper and ink, cannot be hung above the fireplace. There were days I didn’t think I would make it through; there were days I never wanted to end; you can’t commemorate that by handing me a piece of laminated paper.
Graduation was never something I felt would have a lasting impact on me, but walking across that stage was my closing statement to a school that gave me the best and worst times of my life, to a school that will forever hold my former self in its brick walls. It may have only been 10 seconds, a mere 20 steps across the stage to where I was handed my diploma, but it meant a lot more than that. With every step I felt as though I could hold my head a little higher, make my step a little steadier, because I’d really done it. I had graduated.
Seeing my best friends do the same cemented the thought that this was really happening, the day that seemed as though it would never, ever come, had come, and were any of us really ready?
Sure, most of us had screamed at the top of our lungs about how much we wanted to get out, to be set free like caged birds. But do we really grasp the fact that we won’t be going back to a place that, whether or not you’d care to admit it, had become a home away from home? I know I don’t. I’ll still be waking up at 7 a.m. when September rolls around. And yeah, I’ll admit it, I will miss being in high school.
I won’t miss sitting through math class or explaining why I don’t have my homework for the third day in a row, but I will miss listening to my teachers’ little anecdotes about the ’70s and the cafeteria food (I think it’s delicious, sue me). But more than anything else, I’m going to miss the experiences. I’m going to miss sitting on the football field at 11 p.m. on a Friday night with my best friend; I’m going to miss driving around with no destination with a stupid pop song playing at full volume; I’m going to miss pushing my parents to their limits just to have them reinforce that I am, in fact, still in high school.
High school was not the easiest ride, but the memories that I made during those four years will keep me warm when the nights grow cold. It’s a beautiful thing when you finally grow into a person you’re proud to see looking back at you, and I couldn’t have done that without my time in school. My diploma may have not had the effect I thought it would, but seeing my parents cheering for a daughter that didn’t always make them proud, did. Give them hell, Class of 2013.
[Sarah Wilson is a resident of Damascus, PA and has graduated from Honesdale High School. She is joining AmeriCorps and will teach children in Arizona.]