What scares me the most as the graduates leave the stage is that I think I’m ready to take their place.
Art By Mimpmag Staff
As I watch from the crowd I see eager, bright-eyed students experiencing the moment they have been longing for since they entered high school four years prior: Graduation. One by one, they eagerly wait for their names to be called just as they have waited for the school bell to ring so many times before. Unlike my newly graduated peers, the only future I will be stepping into is another tedious year of high school. Creating friendships with those outside of your grade level in high school is a risky trade-off. On one hand, you get to experience the grade above you through someone else's eyes. On the other hand, watching friends that you once shared daily conversations, laughs, and struggles begin their futures without you is heartbreaking.
As I observe the festivities from my seat in the audience, I feel as if I am watching my future play out in front of me, causing my bones to quiver with nerves. With the conclusion of the diploma ceremony and the numerous speeches delivered by respected students and staff, my mind is fixated on the long velvet curtain that has fallen on the stage, abruptly ending my long year and rudely pushing me into summer.
If this were any ordinary summer, my mind would be experiencing thrill. As the curtain closes over the school year I would leap to my feet, applauding the cast that had made my year so remarkable, eyes growing wide with excitement thinking of the long summer ahead. However the red velvet descending over the stage of my junior year of high school left my stomach churning and my mind filled with unfamiliar emotions. Though there are glimpses of these traditional thoughts scattered throughout my conscience, there is something much more significant capturing my attention: the upcoming.
Summer has arrived with its bright red wagon overflowing with fears of oblivion. The laundry list of things that may and most likely will change in the upcoming months is ever growing, and along with it comes the always present questions concerning my future. Will I be happy? What will change? What will change bring along with it? Where will I end up? Who the heck am I gonna be? Questions I don’t know the answers to, piling up in stacks on my shoulders, bending my spine into The Hunchback of Notre Stress.
To dilute the stress that was buzzing throughout my mind, I attempted to pinpoint exactly what was causing me this stress. This was the year I slowly became more comfortable with myself, invested more time in my writing, and improved relationships with the people around me. The days that flew by left me continuously happy. I had unexpectedly created a life I loved by the end of the year, but I feared that this newly found love would end along with the school year. I had grown outrageously comfortable with myself and would much rather float in the pool of the past. However the upcoming has other plans for me.
There is this quote that someone wrote that says progress is impossible without change, and that if we are comfortable in the position we are at in our life, we should do everything in our power to improve. I don’t like this someone very much, however I can see the wisdom in his madness. If life allowed me to stay floating in the pool of my past, I would forever stay with the knowledge and experience of a seventeen year old girl. The roof of my potential is forever growing and though I am comfortable with what I am able to achieve in this time of my life, it does not satisfy my potential for the future. The upcoming is approaching because in some bizarre way I need it to come; its ability to rip me from my comfort zone and propel me into the future will only enable me to grow.
This summer will be my last summer as a high school student and will be the start of the intimidating process that is applying for college. This summer I will watch my brother have his Bar Mitzvah and transition to the young adult I still think of myself to be. This summer I will say goodbye to people I hold very dear to my heart and watch them as they start a new stage in their life. It is the summer of process, the summer of growing, the summer of transition. It's the summer of change.
Change has been a long time friend with whom I have never quite been able to connect. Change has been around with every move, every school transfer, every transition. Simply put, change hasn't been a stranger to me. Still every time change creeps around the corner, I run, terrified. Change is a heartbreak all on its own, with no one to blame. The fact of the matter is that life moves on and one must have enough faith to believe that we will move on to better things.
I didn’t think so before, but what scares me the most as the graduates leave the stage is that I think I’m ready to take their place. Change is going to come whether I accept it with open arms or hide in fear. Although I may not want to accept it, life is continuously changing, and standing idle while everyone else is running their race will only prevent me from reaching my full potential. This summer I plan to become more comfortable with change. Instead of loathing the things I can not change, such as my constant fear of adulthood, I will accept them and become more open to the upcoming. A year from now, as the curtain falls over my high school experience, I hope to have already found a new stage to call my own.