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Graduation, May 26th, 1996 :: Ben Turner's Soapbox

 

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archived soapbox: May 26th, 1996
"Graduation" [permalink]
    keywords: high school, education, college, childhood, student, graduation
    soapbox #: 34
    written: May 26th, 1996
    words: 586

"Graduation", an Essay

I've finally reached high school graduation. Twelve years of pain, misery, and punishment (oh, and some education) in school, but it's finally over. So why do I feel so ambivalent about it?

Now that everyone no longer worries about grades or homework, they're nicer to be around and aren't quite so uptight. They're themselves, I suppose. Now friends who went to the same elementary school as me have time to have good conversations with me. We all enjoy it.

Right now, there are plenty of parties and gatherings for us graduating seniors. Sure, I'll see a lot of folks at UT next year, but some people I'll never talk to again. It's been fun watching them mature and become more intelligent. We've all made it through the same rigorous courses like AP English and pre-calculus. And somehow we all survived. Together.

I'll miss doing high school work, actually. There's something comforting about having a routine of waking up for school everyday. Besides, schoolwork keeps our minds active and expanding. NOW what will I do? I'll have to try extra hard to keep my focus, since I'm going to the college where the word "slacker" was coined!

Some things I'll miss, some things I'll enjoy living without, leaving me as a person going into a completely new environment, college. I'm attending UT and I'll be meeting many new people. What will happen? How will I end up? How much money will my parents give me (just kidding)?

High school was a life of over-protection. Now I'll be going off into the semi-real world. This is the chance I've been waiting for for twelve years of school. And it formally begins when I cross the stage at graduation to get my diploma. Moooommmm!

...

[Added May 28, hours after graduation] I'm officially a high school graduate! The ceremony was memorable, even if we had to line up outside in the blistering heat, in our robes and suits... The speeches were rather horrible, except for Joey Reske's and David Pardoe's. Mr. Reske talked about how we should live our lives as squirrels, who never have to worry about anything except gathering acorns. Funny, refreshing, and quite insightful. Mr. Pardoe, our valedictorian, stumbled through his speech, but came onto some good points. One, that all those speeches about doing well in the future and remembering the past mean nothing to him (and me). Two, that classes may teach you things you'll never have to know again, but the important thing is that you're learning to learn, the most important education you can get. A final note, one which confirms my belief in the duality of life: when our salutatorian read the benediction, it began to thunder and rain. Now, is this a bad sign because it signals stormy weather for us in the future? Or is it a spiritual cleansing, because Texas is having a drought and we as humans are entering a new stage in our lives?

Some things I'll never forget: I'll no longer be able to smile at someone whom I've known since elementary school, but haven't met in awhile. I'll never forget the comfort of high school, the cozy place to go to when I was feeling alienated. I'll remember the graduation ceremony, where we sweated, got our diplomas, threw our caps in the air, and had pictures taken in such good-looking outfits... Bring back memories for you?



 
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