I woke up at 6:00am like I did every day for the past four years. I was still irritated by my alarm and I was still wishing I could stay in bed for a while longer. Nothing different. But as I lay on my bed half asleep I remembered that this was my last day of high school. I’ve thought about this day for weeks and I’ve seen it on TV for years. It was supposed to be this nauseatingly sentimental day where you cry and sign yearbook after yearbook and hug your classmates (I would never hug my classmates if the world depended on it.) I went to my classes and since we had to take our finals there was barely any room for goodbyes. My English teacher horribly sang a portion of Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day to us in an intentionally nasal voice while we took our final and the class laughed and then collectively told him to stop. My economics teacher was pissed off (surprise surprise) and didn’t even wish us a good life or anything like that, but that’s okay he’s always been a jerk so we weren’t expecting much to begin with. But it was in that class period that I noticed a classmates face and I could tell he was visibly sad. It reminded me that I wasn’t the only one battling an array of emotions that I was extremely confused about.
The day dragged on and I said goodbye to my younger friends, my friends that have yet to experience the dying fire that is senior year. I imagined myself in their position. I imagined the abundance of time they had left to waste and I was a bit jealous because I knew they had nothing to be afraid of in high school. High school shouldn’t be scary because it eventually ends, despite how long each day felt and how much you hated that tedious month-long group project for your US history class, it ends just like everything else.
Towards the end of the day everyone in my graduating class met in the quad with stacks of paper collected throughout our high school career so we could throw them in the air as soon as the last bell rang. I’ve watched this tradition, kindly referred to by students and staff as the “paper toss”, from afar for three years and each year I felt a bit differently about it. Freshman year I was mesmerized, sophomore year I just didn’t care, junior year I realized I was next, and senior year I was in disbelief that it was finally my turn and I was also worried that I was going to get hit in the face with a box (AND IT HAPPENED! I predicted it. It hurt.)
As much as I tried to deny it to everyone around, including myself, I was still sad about it coming to an end. I was sad because I wasn’t going to see my friends as much as I did while I was in school, I was sad because I wasn’t going to see my favorite teachers anymore, and I was sad because I was never going to experience anything like this again. Don’t get me wrong, high school wasn’t a spectacular time for me at all, but it wasn’t tremendously horrible either. It was comforting. I knew where I was going on a weekday morning and who I was going to see and what I was going to learn. I hated it and I loved it all at once and I don’t think I’ve ever harbored so much hate/love for any other type of monotonous routine.
Despite getting hit in the face with a box, I had the best time. I was with my closest friends and we cherished those last few moments on that campus more than any other. We were stranded in a sea of paper with the rest of the seniors and we genuinely enjoyed it. It was time to let go of whatever we had left on that campus and move on to better things.