When I stepped into my first class at the beginning of freshman year, senior year seemed so far away.
Now, I just survived my first week of being a senior and too many realizations hit me at once.
That, at the end of the year, I won’t be sitting on the bleachers watching my friends from higher grades graduate. This time, I’ll be the one walking on the stage to receive my diploma that I worked so hard to get over my high school years.
But, it’s only the beginning of the year. There’s still so much to anticipate. So much to go through.
The countless college applications and dreadful Saturday mornings I’ll spend doing the SAT until I get the perfect score so I can get into the perfect college. The ideas for my senior project that I still can’t choose, because I don’t even have one in mind. What my prom dress will look like, or even my graduation dress.
It’s only the beginning of my final year at OVS. It’s the beginning of the end of my high school experience.
It hurts knowing at the end of the year I’ll have to say goodbye to everything I’ve known. To my friends and teachers, to my horse, and to the small town and smaller school that has been my second home.
But, I’m still hopeful that this will be an amazing year, and maybe my days at OVS will only be in my memories and I’ll be living a completely different life, but I’ll still remember them as the most important times in my life.
Thirteen years is a long time for a seventeen year old – and I have been here for thirteen years.
I’ll be honest there is certainly a dissociative sense of gladness that I’ll finally be seeing a change of scenery, a change in pace. It is easy to say, “God am I glad to be moving on,” it is easy to think that I’m ready and really don’t care all that much. It is easy to look at these past thirteen years and think of only the things I’m ready and willing to give up.
It is not easy however to look back on the past four years, the past seven, all the years and think of all that I’m leaving behind. It is not easy to leave with honesty, with neither hell nor rose tint. I won’t say that the past years, high school in particular were perfect – I have nothing to compare them to, I won’t say they were terrible either – they weren’t.
It’s odd to think about, even odder to try to put into words the sort of feelings I have about moving onto the next part of whatever future awaits me, because in part there is a sort of cold readiness to just leave but in equal part there is a desperate need to hold on, to dig my heals in, to continue to put my nose to the grindstone so I don’t feel the inevitable sense of loss.
It is undeniable that who I am is inescapably tied to these past years and I wonder everyday if I have the strength to untether myself from that. All my heart strings are tangled up and confused as to what to do in these last days – run as fast as I can home where I can rest and pretend like I’m already gone or stick around and grow melancholy realizing that it is the last time that I will be as I am where I am – realizing that these are the last moments for me to see my teachers as the teachers whose classes I used to know I would inevitably show up in again next year, sleep deprived and more than a little black-mooded.
Is it strange that I feel so much and nothing at all? Is it weird that I can’t find it in myself to reminisce like a bad made for TV movie with an even worse soundtrack? Is it weird that I can’t find the strength to tell my friends that I love them now in case we naturally fall into radio silence? Is it weird that I can’t find the ability to say thank you to the teachers who have built me?
I’m not sure how to put it all together. How to show the the people who deserve my thanks and love just how thankful I am and how much love I have for them. I’m not sure how to say goodbye to the place and people who have been my entire world for 76% of my life. Thirteen years is a lot of “stuff” and people to say goodbye to and I don’t think I’ll ever really be ready for that, but in three days I will have to anyway.
It is not a goodbye forever but it is a forever goodbye to the safety and essence of what those years have been.
I almost inevitably will cry June 1, I’m not ready for that. On June 1, even if I don’t say it outright, I hope that everyone from the past thirteen years understands that I am eternally thankful and that, selfishly, it may hurt me too much to try to say it to their faces.
So let me say it now, in the likely event that I can’t say it later:
Thank you for all the years, for the good, the mediocre, the not so good, for everything.
I suppose this is the end. My last blog. The last post I write, and the last one I publish. The last piece of writing I do for Ojai Valley School – the place that has taught me how to write.
I came to school my freshman year having written essays before, but only formal, structured pieces for English class. I’ve always been one to write down my thoughts – I carry around a journal and have always documented my raw emotions. But before coming to OVS, I had never shared my writing with others.
Freshman year, I sat down in my first Humanities class, unaware of the flood of writing to come. Reading journals galore, I had little blurbs of writing due once or twice a week. Those reading journals were analytical, but they allowed me to delve into my thoughts and share my own interpretation of the material – something I had never done for school before.
And I think those reading journals, back in freshman year Humanities, bridged the gap between writing for myself and writing for school. And that allowed me to delve into Journalism, which introduced me to writing for others.
Fast forward four years. Here I am, at the end of senior year. Freshman year, I learned the value of my own thoughts in writing. And sophomore year, when I started taking Journalism, I truly learned the wonder of writing. I found my voice, and learned how to tell stories. I learned how to paint pictures of other people’s accomplishments and what goes on around campus. I learned to blog – to write metaphorically, and to eloquently share my deepest, most honest emotions. I truly learned to put my thoughts into words, and to fearlessly share them with the world.
So, again, here I am, writing my last blog post. I have written all sorts of blog posts over the past three years – ones that are funny, sad, sarcastic and honest. And now I have to wrap it up. This is the last thing I will write this year, for any class. The last bit of work I do before I graduate, the last bit of work I do in high school.
That’s pretty crazy.
Today is Wednesday, May 31st. On Friday, June 2nd, I graduate. I’m beyond excited, but also terrified. It doesn’t feel real. I always knew I’d get to this point, but now that I’m here it’s hard to grasp. It’s hard to believe that it’s me. I’m about to graduate high school. I’m about to be in college.
I can’t believe I made it. I know that’s a cliché thing to say, but I really mean it. These past four years have been pretty hectic. But here I am. T minus two days and I’ll be walking across the stage.
And I can’t wait.
I’m sad to be leaving – OVS has done so much for me and I’m going to miss it. All my friends, all my teachers, they’re going to be hard to leave. But OVS has prepared me well for college, and now I’m ready to move forward.
So goodbye and thank you to OVS, to Journalism, and all the writing I’ve done here. It’s the end of an era, and a great one too.
You know that people will be leaving, projects are due, and so is all the school work from the past few months that you’ve hidden under your bed in denial. So I find myself strangely lonely, isolated even.
But I’m ready for summer, and my introvert battery needs a recharge. You’d think being “isolated” now would help, but it’s different.
Right now I’m isolated by work and change, in summer – recharge mode – I am isolated by choice and enjoyment of being alone. It’s different.
Given the choice, I would skip the entire last two months of school, jump straight into summer and then into the new school year. But alas there are the last two months.
I don’t really like change, and maybe that’s why I isolate myself – at least I think it’s a self driven isolation. I hope it is, because the alternative option is that no one likes me. But that’s beside the point. I don’t like change because it takes me a long time to warm up to anything, and change is like a bucket of ice water on what tolerance and comfort I build up.
I’m not saying change is bad, I’m just saying I don’t like it. On top of that, I hate goodbyes. They’re often mushy and huggy and declarative, definite, final.
The end of the year approaches, and I feel kinda lonely and things are changing, fast.
It’s here!… Wait… What? Our class is graduating from high school? That’s not possible, I thought the year just started?
Yes guys, graduation is finally here and this is the last blog I am going to write for the Ojai Valley School Journalism team. For those of you who read my blog one month ago which talked about how graduation is right around the corner, well here we are, just a couple of days away from a huge turning point in our lives.
All those grueling, yet memorable years and the lessons we have learned from our peers and faculty have been, and will forever be, engrained into our hearts. I still remember three months ago, talking to one of my friends about whether or not I’d be able to remember what we had talked about that night. Believe me, I do remember what we talked about, and that moment also taught me that time passes like sand slipping through your hands.
Okay, that’s enough blabbering from me… But I want to wish everybody good luck! It’s been a joy writing blogs for the OVS Journalism team. Here we go!!! It is graduation!!!
I am very ready to graduate high school. I have already packed three boxes full of stuff ready to ship to college. The thing I am most excited for in college is gaining independence. At my boarding school, all my actions are controlled since the school is responsible for everything I do.
Last weekend, I had a plan to go visit one of my friends who is in college. I was planning to go with my classmate who is going to the same college as my friend next year. Since my classmate and my friend there don’t know each other very well, I wanted to be the bridge to help them get to know each other better.
On the Friday we were supposed to leave, we got a notice that we weren’t allowed to go. I was shocked. I had been able to get through my busy week by thinking about the weekend, and I had really been looking forward to it. All our transportation and other arrangements that my friend had set up counted for nothing. I felt so sorry for my friends, and I was so disappointed.
The reason our plan wasn’t approved is because we are not allowed to sleep overnight on a college campus. We were told that “a college campus is a dangerous place to be.” I understand the school’s responsibility and that they sometimes need to be overprotective, but I didn’t expect our trip to be canceled.
I really need my independence. I am over 18 and can make my own choices regarding where I want to go and what I want to do. This is one of the reasons why I am very ready to graduate.
There comes a time in every senior’s career when they have to start picking colleges. Now, I’m far from being a senior, but I started thinking about colleges after going to the East Coast during spring break. Through all my time thinking about location, majors, and programs, one thing has stuck with me.
How are we, as children, supposed to decide the course of our lives? When someone chooses a college, they chose their connections, their future job opportunities, and many other hidden factors. When we choose a major, we cut off most of our time to explore other subjects of thought.
Picture this: You walk in to Ms. Oberlander and Mr. Alvarez’s college meeting. You sit down, take out your laptop, and open Naviance. You take a look at the colleges you’re thinking about. UCSB, Chapman, Harvard, or Yale. You have your target schools, but you know in your heart you’re dying to go to your reach school. You raise your hand to go to the bathroom, interrupting Ms. Oberlander’s speech about freedom.
It’s a little ironic. When most students go to college, they don’t know how to handle themselves. Just three months before freshman orientation, they still had to ask to use the restroom. They still had their parents doing their laundry and making them dinner. Teachers still told them how to dress, how to act. At OVS, we have the unique opportunity to learn some of the skills most college students lack so that we are more prepared to take on this new challenge.
However, OVS (and any school for that matter) can’t prepare us for what’s out there. It can’t prepare you for the choice between going to class or playing video games. It can’t prepare you for the people who will hurt you or how to make friends. They can only cross their fingers and hope you succeed.