Tomorrow is the big day. The end of 15 years of public schooling (preschool-high school) and the start of something more. I really never thought I would make it this far. The shy little girl sucking her thumb, to the grown young women ready to take the world by storm. From peeing in her pants in preschool (I was to shy to knock on the bathroom door…) to being accepted into my number one school. As I sit here now, I wonder where my life will take me in the next 4 years and beyond. I hope to God I learned enough to get me started, but I know that the real learning has only just begun. School can’t prepare you for the real world, no, not at all. You learn how to live and navigate your life outside of the classroom and through the experiences you have, people you meet, and challenges you face.
My years in school were not easy, but are they for anyone? Of course, now I can look back on the silly challenges that came up and think of how simple some things were. Like being so shy in kindergarten that I wouldn’t sing the alphabet with everyone else so my teacher called my mom and made me take out special ABC books from the library to “study”. Or having so much difficulty with spelling that on a 3rd grade spelling test I only got 3 correct. My teacher called me over to scold me and I burst in to tears. How about those horrible gym periods where I would just try to cringe and hid in the corner, but still inevitably get smashed in the face with a dodge ball.
But then there are the harder challenges and events to look back on. The hellish years starting in 6th grade to 8th grade. Being bullied by people I once called friends. Losing the few I had, since most of my time outside of school was spent at dance. Not knowing who I would stand with or sit with on that field trip, so instead I played hooky. Being called “emo” (what the hell does that even mean?) because I was more quiet than the rest and I wore make-up before most and maybe liked a few black shirts. Or how about being called a slut because I started talking to a boy my former friend had “dated” (in whatever sense you can call 7th grade dating).
High school wasn’t much easier. Of course I went in with high hopes of meeting a much broader range of kids than just the 68 I had been with my whole life. Freshman year was okay. I did make a group of friends, only I made friends with the wrong group. I had to slowly detach myself from them as they turned their back on me. Then I knew I was in it alone for the rest of the way. Now, I like being alone, don’t get me wrong, I am the definition of an introvert. However, when things like group projects come up, who will pick you to be with them? Who will you sit with in the sea of lunch tables in the cafeteria? Who will you go with to that school dance? (I only ever went to my Freshman homecoming). Who will you talk to when you just need that tiny bit of support before you get up and give a huge presentation. Who will be your partner in gym to be your counter during the sit-up test? (Why can’t teachers just assign kids together!).
But the thing is, you learn not to worry about these things. Or at least know that you have gotten through them before, each and every time. Alone, but with your head held high. You learn how to navigate these situations and get out of the ones that you can avoid. You may end up sitting by yourself on the last day of school in the cafeteria, knowing that next year you will just fill your schedule with classes so you won’t have to worry about having a lunch period. You learn that it’s okay to just focus on your studies through your four years and get everything you can out of your education instead of worrying about teenage drama. You avoid it, stay out of it, so you won’t get hurt.
In the end the AP history tests you aced, the math quizzes you failed, and the recitation of Latin lines you stumbled through, don’t really prepare you for anything. The whole experience of school, what happens in and outside all comes together in to the culmination of lessons learned and experiences had. I am going off into the unknown on a crazy adventure and I am just hoping that the struggles I’ve had, the education I did receive, are enough to lead me to success. I am so scared for what is to come. I can’t pin point exactly what I am scared about, I guess it is just the unknown. But I am also not scared, I am excited, anxious, hopeful. Something I don’t have the words for, that is how I feel right now.
I am graduating from high school. I have achieved something that many people don’t. I have gotten to a moment in my life that I have waited for for so long. I may have been bruised, scarred, hurt. But I have come out and finished standing strong, tall, confident, and ready to take what will be thrown at me next. When I receive my diploma tomorrow, I will let out a huge sigh of relief. I will go to bed that night and wake up the next morning knowing that maybe my schooling experience wasn’t what I had thought it would be. Maybe it wasn’t perfect, but it must have happened for a reason. It prepared me for something more. Something I have yet to even grasp in my mind. I will wake up that next morning knowing I will no longer have to just “make it through” one more day. I will be a high school graduate and I will be an incoming Colonial. An incoming Colonial with ideas in her head, opinions to be expressed, that fresh hope of having her chance to change the world. I will be the girl with the experiences, the stories, the courage, the drive, the toughness, the confidence, the will to make her life exactly what she wants it to be no matter what.
I am strong. I am me. I am a high school graduate. I am a survivor. I am now a Colonial.
So tell me:
+ Was you schooling years everything you thought it would be?
+ What did you learn about yourself by the time you graduated from high school?
*I am linking up with Amanda’s Thinking Out Loud today, because this is me, just thinking out loud, however confusing this post may be, it is just what came out when I put fingers to keys.*
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