May 19, 2014, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School
Four years ago (I remember the conversation), my cousin Jen, who was then graduating from High School, brought an interesting fact to my attention. In another four years from then, she said, I would be graduating from high school, and she from college.
Well, yesterday she graduated from Tufts University, and in twelve days, I’ll don a cap and gown myself for high school graduation. I finish classes even sooner—in four days.
Time to Graduate
But today, I took a nap—this morning, in the main entryway to the school (a connector between two buildings), a great portion of the seniors put down a pillow and maybe a blanket, lay down, and got some pretend shut-eye. Now I’m not always the most spirited person when it comes to school pranks or senior events, and goodness knows our class faltered on certain events throughout the year, but there was something special in that morning joke.
It was incredibly odd yet simultaneously heartwarming. Lying there in the A-B Connector, watching teachers and underclassmen look on incredulously, listening to the piano player our band director brought in to serenade us with suitably nondescript lullabies, delighting in a little extra sleep on a surprisingly comfortable floor-pillow combo. How different! How special.
Among all these end-of-year and end-of-high-school festivities, I can’t stop myself from noticing each one of the many sentimental finalities woven into my final few days. For instance, tomorrow I’ll work as a counselor for the last time with a children’s musical theater director I’ve known since first grade and worked for since ninth. Most eerily, this final play – Lionel Bart’s Oliver! – is also the last one I acted in before graduating her program some seven years ago.
Next Wednesday, during the Senior Day of Community Service, nine friends and myself will travel to Drumlin Farm in Lincoln for a day of volunteer work. In my younger years, I attended day camp at Drumlin for quite a few summers.
Even where I am now—typing these words in Digital Imaging Class now that I’ve finished my assignment—makes me think about the past and the future. My teacher (who, by virtue of block order will be the last teacher I’ll have an elective class with in high school) was also the first elective teacher I had in high school, for Intro to Animation four years ago. Some of the seniors who were in that class (their names escape me; it’s been so long) will graduate college next year as my cousin did yesterday.
It doesn’t escape me that my freshman year Earth Science teacher may be retiring soon, yet my senior year Physics teacher is just starting at L-S (having himself graduated high school less than a decade ago). And it certainly doesn’t escape me that I am allowing myself to be noticeably affected by these realizations!
You see, I’m not really a nostalgic, sentimental, or (for lack of a better word) “mushy” person. I don’t like to think that my memories can make me introspect so profoundly. But they did.
Memories Can Be Profound
The real kicker is that these realizations have no basis in my own actions! I did not ask the director to put on Oliver! for a second time. Goodness knows no student can get the Scheduling Office to change much of anything in his or her favor, let alone bookend my elective teacher so perfectly. I did not hire my new physics teacher, nor did I persuade my Earth Science Teacher to retire. All of these things happened passively. They were decided, and they happened, but I had no need of being there, nor did I affect the process in any way.
On the other side of the things, it is so coincidental that any of these things happen at all: what if I had chosen a different elective? What if I had been in a different science level? What if I didn’t go to L-S? My very existence (as special as it may seem to me now) rests precariously on a series of historical coincidences going back to the dawn of mankind. But for now, it’s all I know, and it is these concurrences—however passive—that force me to stop and reflect.
The Future: Post High School and Beyond
And in fifty years, I’ll look back on my yearbook (in all of its enormous, 337-page glory) and all of these things will come flooding back—even if they are so little; no more than coincidences in the grand scheme of things.
Of course, in that future, I’ll have even stronger memories of a life I cannot yet even dream of, let alone foresee. Sitting on the Tufts main quad yesterday, I couldn’t help but begin to imagine my own graduation—god willing—from Maryland four more years from now. It seems only yesterday I entered L-S for the first time, so why does the same interval feel like an eternity when looking forward?