Friday, June 12, 2015

Thoughts on Graduation

And I'm writing this... off my new Macbook Pro! I've successfully become a walking, talking, Apple advertisement.

If graduation means getting a new laptop, I should seriously graduate more often.

This past Sunday, I graduated from high school. It was a flurry of emotions, some good some bad. Most of them consisted of me being annoyed that I had to sit for three hours and that the graduation cap was seriously messing up what could've been a good hair day. Or being annoyed at the incessant amount of photos my parents demanded. But at the end of it all, it was a good day. I received my diploma, spent quality time with my family and then with my friends at grad night, and had a chance to say goodbye to the teachers and administrators that impacted me the most.

We have an unofficial tradition of going to the beach the following morning and watching the sunrise
Graduation to me didn't seem like a huge deal. From the moment I stepped into the halls of my high school, it was pretty much set that I would graduate. But that's because I attended a well-off, suburban public school. That's not the case for everyone. The high school class of 2013 set the graduation rate record at only 81%, and this is factoring in schools like my own where everybody will graduate. The disparities persist, however. A third of low income kids do not graduate, racial minorities and English language learners have significantly lower graduation rates, and some states still have graduation rates as low as 33%. I'm not here to be a giant cheese bomb, but a high school diploma is truly a blessing and it shouldn't be taken lightly.

My high school diploma is setting me up for the next four years of my life, aka college. And that's terrifying. I'm supposed to have the next four years figured out and I don't even know what I'm having for lunch today. And I have to do that far away from the people I love.

My aunt and me (left); my mom, my dog, and me (right)

I'm scared because I've basically spent the last four years surrounded by the same people in a concealed learning environment. Most of the people I know are going to different schools that are mostly located really far away from where I'm going to school. It was hard enough making friends in high school, but it's even harder as an adult when you're transplanted to a new location where you know nothing and no one. I'm still home for the summer, but even so I'm already starting to anticipate the isolation of being away.

Next fall, I'm attending Yale University. I'm so incredibly excited for the amazing opportunities I'll get while at Yale and I'm glad my hard work in high school payed off. But like I said, Yale's far away, aka 886.6 miles. I'm lucky that one of my best friends is also attending Yale next year, but even so, a weekend trip home isn't really an option on a college budget. I'll have to get used to seeing my dog (oh, and my parents) only via Skype.

Me and Lauren, my sister from another mister, and a fellow Yalie

The other thing that I'm scared about for Yale is its rigor and caliber. The classes are going to be hella hard, and everyone around me is going to be hella smart. I do think that that's the right environment for me, but it'll definitely be a new feeling to not necessarily always be at the top academically anymore. As the common adage goes, the only way to improve is to surround yourself with people who are better than you. Ultimately, that's why I wanted to go to such a competitive school. However, it'll still be quite an adage to go from being a big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond.

Graduation and getting ready for college definitely remind me that I'm not really a "kid" anymore. I'm technically an adult and I have been one for a few months, but it's really starting to sink in as I'm learning how to be on my own. That made me ask myself, am I young enough to be writing this blog? Does being young transcend the legal age of 18? After some thought, I think it does. Hell, Tavi Gevinson is older than me and she's still editor of Rookie Mag! I think being young is more being new, being inexperienced, still trying to figure things out. And young can last a pretty long time. It's all about how you feel, and I have no intention of aging myself quickly.

That was definitely a more personal post than normal, but I wanted to share my thoughts in hopes that maybe someone else feels this way too, and it's always nice to find a kindred soul. If this post did resonate, let me know, but mostly, thanks for reading and empathizing :)

P.S. Maybe in 10 years this blog will be called Adultisms!

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