Considering it's graduation season yet again I have to admit I've been thinking back to my graduation seven years ago.
I remember being a senior and anticipating that final walk across the stage. The feeling of knowing high school would soon be over and the world would be mine to conquer.
It was the feeling of knowing the time to explore and see what the world had to offer was finally upon us.
Senioritis never really got me like it did some of the others, but then again I was never much like the other students I graduated with. I kept to myself, did what needed to be done and was ready for the next step. To me, high school was one of the steps that had to be taken, but one I was ready to move on from. I learned what I could, but I knew there was so much more out there, and I was ready to see what it was.
Sitting there at graduation gave me a feeling I can't explain. It was an anxious, excited feeling crowded by sadness. I remember listening to the speeches and realizing in less than an hour my elementary and high school career — thirteen years — would be left behind and a different chapter would be starting.
I looked around and saw the 40 students I had gone to school with for so many years and realized I may never see them again. I began to think just how well I really knew any of them. For the most part we all seemed to get along, everyone was able to hang out with each other, but there were still those cliques that every school has.
I sat there and thought to myself where would we all be 10 years from now; how many of us would go on to do great things and how many of us would be confined to the perceptions that high school put on us.
It's hard to believe it's been seven years since that day. I still keep track of most of those 40 students; some of us have moved on from Big Spring and started families. Others have gone on to further their education and enter career fields I never could have imagined for them. Then there are those who chose to stay, build a family and live their life.
Each year I look at the graduating classes and think to myself, how different are they than we were. How much has changed since we were standing in their shoes. The answer is: they are more like us than any of us know and yet so much has changed.
I remember thinking how “big” and “mature” I was graduation day. That same line of thinking is clear as day in each of the graduating seniors. That is one thing that will never change. Maybe it's the fact the seniors have all the attention, they are the oldest and they are the ones all the other students want to be. It's amazing how much “power” is put into being a senior, especially when you are the freshman.
Looking back on it now, I realize being a senior only puts you right back at the bottom of the chain. Once you walk across that stage you are right back at the bottom.You enter into college or the workforce the youngest ones there and the ones on the bottom. The reign of being on top is short lived, but one to be enjoyed.
It's easy to get caught up in the “I'm a senior and the world is mine” mentality, but don't forget it won't be long until you are fighting the fight just like everyone else. With the end of high school comes the beginning of the real world. The world of paying bills, finding a job and making a life. It's the American dream, but it also doesn't come easy.
I listen to the speeches given at graduations and they all say the same thing, but I'm not sure it can be grasped when you are sitting in that seat. I think it isn't until you are looking back seven years or 70 years that you truly realize how momentous the occasion really was. Graduation is a time to be remembered because it's the end and a beginning.
I know if I would have known then what I know now, I would have enjoyed high school a little more. I would have taken more opportunities and lived a little more. I wouldn't have been in such a rush to leave those walls that we all thought were confining us.
My advice to this year's graduating class is this;
Enjoy each and every moment before you walk across that stage. Make sure and take lots of photos because before you know it they will be all you have. Life tends to go by so much faster than we realize. Don't get too involved in rushing the days along because there will come a time when you realize you missed so much.
There are countless opportunities out there and your future is yours to make. Take the chances you want, try things you don't and always remember nobody can decide your fate except you. Once you walk across that stage it won't matter if you were the popular kid or the nerd; it won't matter if you were the biggest football star the school has ever seen or if you were ignored for most of the years — all of it will be forgotten.
After graduation is when it truly begins. It's the time for you to make your dreams come true. Congratulations to all the 2011 seniors, I wish I could be back in your shoes.
Contact Staff Writer Amanda Moreno at 263-7331 ext. 234 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org