Well, last week I completed a chapter in my life: The High School Chapter. I graduated. Third in my class, mind you. (That was a shameless plug for my accomplishments. ;] ) It was exhilirating. As we walked in to Pomp and Circumstance, I couldn't stop smiling. It sounds ridiculous, and I'm sure I had a stupid looking grin plastered on my face, but I couldn't stop it. I suppose that's my topic: The effect graduation has on people.
While I was happy, nay, THRILLED, to be graduating, many were sad. I never understood that. Why would you be sad to leave the muck-pit that is high school? Albeit, I had some good times there, but really, most of my memories consist of unfair teachers, hard tests, and exhaustion (which I admit may have been my own fault due to procrastination).
Unlike others, I did not associate high school with friends. I spent more time with my friends outside of school than I did in school. I associate high school with the select few teachers I hate, horrible AP exams, last minute research papers, and annoying peers. Maybe I'm just a pessimist.
But we all counted down the days to graduation, didn't we? Weren't we all excited as we could be as it approached? Didn't we complain about how much earlier Tech got out of school than we did and how they graduated before us? But if I knew you all were going to cry at graduation, I would've called you out on for hypocrites back in January.
Maybe you crybabies are associating high school with what I am not: Happiness, friends, dances, and the like.
In all honesty, I thought I would cry at graduation. I thought I would boohoo when I played my final song with the band. I thought, maybe, if the speeches were moving enough, I would cry. (Ha.) I thought I might cry when I began hugging all the friends I would probably never see again afterwards. But I was wrong.
Many emotions coursed through my body when I walked out onto the Convocation Center floor, but sadness was not present. I felt no longing to remain in high school. I was excited that the moment was finally there. I was happy high school was over. I was proud to be third in the class. I was glad my family was there, that they took up a whole row of seating and then some, that they rang cowbells and made a racket when my name was called. I was proud to be a part of the band as we played our graduation song. And finally, I was bewildered by trying to find and say goodbye to everyone after the commencement.
Never, in that whole ordeal, did I feel sad. I did not shed a tear. My eyes did not even water.
You and your friends are not part of high school. High school is part of your life and your friends' lives. Your friends, if they are true, will be around after high school. If they mean enough to you, you'll keep in touch. Friends are no reason to be sad at graduation. Friendship does not end with a commencement ceremony. Friendship ends when you refuse to fuel it.
Graduation should be a happy time, so let it be.