Tomorrow is my final day of classes as a secondary school student. We have a special day at school on Friday – with a Mass, followed by a food fair, disco and other activities – and then on Monday, I graduate.
However, I still seem to be labouring under the impression that saying or writing statements such as the above will make that fact sink in. As of yet, my attempts are failing.
I’m in a funny mindset at the moment. Everyone in the 200-strong Year 12 cohort seems to have a different feeling about approaching the end of our schooling. Some are so fixated on exams that they have no vision of the approaching finale. Some will have to be dragged out kicking and screaming. Some mentally left the school months ago.
Personally, I have been ready to leave highschool for at least half of this year. I don’t really know what clicked with me, or even if there was a moment when I realised it; but I’m fairly decided that I’m ready to move on. It is strange however, that despite being a fairly emotional person at times, I have an unusual lack of sentimentality at the moment. I know some of my classmates tear up at the thought of leaving school, but although I have enjoyed my time there and will miss some of the people and the atmosphere of high school, I have surprised myself in recent weeks by just how little I seem to feel about this ending of an era.
Someone described highschool to me once as “the longest occupation you’re likely to have”. They tell us Gen-Ys and Gen-Zs (or whatever we are now) that most of the jobs we’ll end up doing haven’t even been invented yet, so the likelihood of us entering a career and staying there forever is fairly low. In that case, doing the same thing for thirteen years running is quite an impressive feat. And I think it’s this mindset that has made me realise that I’m ready for something new. School is passé now. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.
But should I be feeling sentimental? Thirteen years out of eighteen is a substantial portion of my life. Is it strange that I don’t feel any sort of regret or remorse that this phase is coming to its conclusion? I’ve found myself almost trying to feel sad about graduating, because it just seems to be the natural progression – but is this wrong?
The only answer I can give is I don’t know. For some people, it is an attachment to the school community that makes them nostalgic. Well, I’ve enjoyed my time there and made some relationships that I will always remember and in some cases strive to continue, but there’s nothing to say there aren’t people outside this environment that I will get along with just as well, if not better.
For others, the structure, guidance and support of high school is the perfect security blanket, and they are apprehensive about being viewed as an ‘adult’ and having to make it alone. This I will admit has probably helped me, as I do need a proverbial kick every now and then to get motivated, but I also believe that if I really want to do well at something, I have the maturity and independence to pull it off.
However for some people, it is a simple fear of the unknown that makes them want to cling onto the dying moments of this year. And this is one thing I can certainly say does not apply to me. I am the sort of person who craves change. As far as I’m concerned, a sudden drastic increase in freedom and time to spare is incredibly exciting. I have the opportunity to do many new and exciting things, even if I don’t even know what that entails yet, and I see next year as a turning point when I can do something different with my life, whether it be drastic or insignificant.
So I guess what I’m trying to do here is sort out my feelings about the approaching weeks. Who knows; Monday might bring with it a wave of misery and my next post could be deeply melancholic, despairing over the time I’ve wasted and taken for granted. Or I may just enjoy the day as the perfect way to transition from one phase of my life into another. All I can say is that I certainly don’t regret this significant experience, but I am looking forward to making new ones for myself in the future.