Goodbye High School, Hello College

This is a big post; I can tell already. I have a lot of stuff to say, but first an introduction. First, my last installment in this kind of series took a really hard turn in the middle and I want to avoid that this time. What I really liked about my last one was how it ended, as if childhood and adulthood were people I was writing letters to. So that’s what I want to do with this post. I thought the letter format was more creative and powerful. Also, I just feel like I need to talk a little about graduation and graduation parties a little outside of the letter format, so that’s what I’ll start off with. Hope you all enjoy, because this is a momentous occasion for me.

Alright, so let’s get the party started with some talk about my graduation which happened Saturday. I woke up and I went to a graduation party which was alright but I don’t know the people super well so I only stayed for like thirty minutes. I came home and I got in the shower and I turned on my music. Well, “For the First Time in Forever” came on, and it starts out with “It’s coronation day!” So in my head, I turned that into, “It’s graduation day!” Now I’m thinking of how to change the lyrics to be a graduation song. Anyway, so I show up to graduation and I’m really pissed that my mom is making “executive decisions” about where we park and stuff. She was super worried about a line for graduation which I kept insisting wasn’t a thing because it’s an arena with like 8 entrances at least. I got out with my brother, sister, and my mom’s boyfriend across the street in a Qdoba parking lot. I had to walk there while in my cap and gown, which is attention grabbing, and I didn’t want everyone’s attention. So then when I get into the arena where I’m supposed to be, I spent about thirty minutes standing in a line with next to nothing to do but watch everyone take selfies, talk about graduation, and that kind of stuff. Most annoyingly though was the insistence of them all to see their friends with no regard to the fact that we were supposed to be lining up. The S’s were with the F’s and all kinds of whacky crap that just annoyed me. I’m being over dramatic about it because it all ended up fine, but in the moment I was peeved. When we finally started walking, I was really excited, but never so excited as when I entered the actual arena and I felt like there were thousands of eyes all on me specifically. I was with a couple hundred other seniors and I felt like all eyes were on me, and I tried SO hard not to look excited. I dunno why, because I had every reason to be excited, but I just tried to stifle it. The ceremony itself was good. I was really anxious to get to the handing out diplomas and the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” that the choirs and band and orchestra performs. That was always my favorite part of the ceremony in the couple years I attended the ceremony as an orchestra member. Even though I know being handed my diploma had me on the big screen and all eyes were on me, it was weird because I didn’t quite comprehend that. I was laser focused on just receiving my diploma and getting back to my seat and smiling for the camera. We threw our caps and listened to the songs and we exited. Had photos taken and all that fun stuff. I graduated. It’s finally over. I’m just relieved and excited. All I had left was graduation parties and it was summer time.

Speaking of graduation parties, lets talk about them as a whole. For the past two years, I’ve been getting graduation party invites from my senior friends, and I always look forward to them. But this round is different. Of course it is. Attending graduation parties as an under classman is kind of like sitting at a bar with your friends when you’re the only one who can’t drink. You can talk to them and be friends with them and have all of that, but you miss all the magic (alcohol). I’m not an alcoholic, I swear. Either way, I finally “turned 21” if you will. Now when I go to these parties, I say congratulations and it’s kind of awkward because I graduated with them, and I’m congratulating myself in a way. As a graduate, attending the parties makes it feel more like a party, like the weight has been lifted and we’re free to do whatever we want (within reason). I know I won’t be going back to school the next week, and knowing that we graduated together is kind of unifying. It feels more joyous and celebratory, and suddenly we’re all adults with “real lives” and plans for our future. It’s all very unifying. Sitting in the chairs at graduation and hearing the speakers talk about how tight knit our class was I was thinking in my head, “Oh really? I’ve never heard of fifty of these people, never spoken to half of them, and 90% of them I wouldn’t be around voluntarily.” I don’t say that as in I hate them, but more in the way of stating a fact. Of the ~330 graduates, I’ll probably stay in contact with like 10-20 of them? Maximum? The rest could all sink on a ship and my life wouldn’t be affected at all (not that I wish for that to happen, I’m just saying). But now, on the other side, I do feel a little unified to them. Like, I have a new title. Class of 2015, I sat in these chairs with these people, I spent four years of my life in those hallways with those people, taking classes with them, calling them names behind their backs, hating their guts, all that high school drama and stuff. You never know what it looks like from the other side. Even if you know you’re blind to the big picture, you can’t make yourself see until it’s all over. And now I see, and even if I have nothing else in common with these chumps, I know we can all proudly declare ourselves, “Lambkins, Class of 2015.”

Well, back to those parties. I attended one party and a solid 7+ teachers attended, from my first grade teacher to my 12th grad English and journalism teacher. Suddenly seeing them all there (especially together) was giving me minor panic attacks. I measure my life by my grade more than by my age at this point. “Back in 5th grade,” replaces, “Back when I was 10.” Like each teacher represents a phase of my life, or vice versa. My phases of life have certain teachers. Seeing them all TOGETHER crashed all those phases of life into one moment and I just couldn’t believe it. The other weird part is seeing them as both an adult and a high school graduate. The teacher-student relationship is sort of dissolved and a more equal, friendly relationship takes its place. They’ll always be my teachers, but suddenly I’m talking to them like an adult and a friend. As a human. The chains of “teacher” and “student” seemed to kind of fall away and what was really there is left to shine, like polishing a diamond caked in dirt (or a dull rock depending on the person). It was really trippy, but it was so awesome! I loved all the teachers I saw and it was great sort of catching up with them and coming to realize they have lives outside of the classroom. It’s really a bizarre and incredible experience.

Okay, I think I’ve said all I wanted to say about the graduation and the parties surrounding it. If you have any questions, ask away. If not, I’ll now be writing to high school and college as if they were people.

So high school, we’ve been through a LOT together. I remember when middle school handed me off to you and at the start you seemed like a real cool guy. We made new friends, had a lot of cool experiences, and we had a really great time at the start. Sometimes you were the only place I wanted to be. I don’t know exactly what went wrong or when, but somewhere down the road you changed. Suddenly you were a place of cold, and pain, and suffering, and anguish. You put me through hell and made me wish I were dead. You strangled the will to live out of me, and I felt all alone. All I had was you, and you destroyed me. You gave me a little help when you introduced me to theater, but theater couldn’t protect me from you all the time. You brought me drama in wheelbarrows and never ceased. I stuck around because you were all I knew at that point. I kept lying to myself, thinking I was okay and I could handle it. I told myself that I could be happy, and I even fooled myself into thinking I was happy sometimes. But I never was. You made my life hell, and despite all that you’ve done for me, I can only thank you. Because of your behavior, I had to seek help. I had to realize I wasn’t alone and there were other people there for me. You prepared me for the real world. You gave me experience that I can pass along to others whom you’re hurting. You showed me passions I didn’t know I had, and you showed me to people who have made my life better. Recently you’ve been better. We’ve had good times for a while now and I’m very glad we’re ending our relationship on a high note. Despite everything we’ve been through, I know I’m a better person because of it, and I’ve grown into a man who can bend and not break, love and not hate, find joy among despair. Now that we part ways, I say that it’s been a hell of a ride, but I’m so glad and blessed to have lived through it with you. I am who I am because of you, and now I love who I am. I didn’t always think so, but now I know so. I don’t know how much I’ll miss you, but I will always carry a piece of you with me. Before I go, I have to say I have friends who are still with you. Treat them well, or you’ll be hearing from me. Take care of them. You’ve been a good friend and a horrible one, but a friend none the less. Thank you for everything.

College, you and I need to set some ground rules. I don’t know a whole lot about you yet. I hear you’re an awesome dude and I’m really excited to meet you, but I’ve also heard some really questionable things. I hear you like to party and take peoples money. If that’s true, I don’t know if this is going to work out. I want the best from you, and if you’re taking my money, I better be getting something out of it. You charge a high price to know you, but I’m really glad I’ll get to know you because, lets be real. High school over there is kinda lame. You and I will have a WAY better time than he and I ever did. I want you to show me everything. You’re going to show me new people, new passions, new experiences, new places, and we’re going to get real close real fast. I don’t want any of this “just friends” bullshit. I want to know you well and I want you to know me well. I’m getting the full experience or else we’re gonna need to have a talk. But now that we’ve got those ground rules covered, I’m Jacob. I really think we’re going to be awesome friends. Some of my other friends already know you and they say you’re pretty needy, but also really cool. I’m pretty needy too, and I think I’m pretty awesome, so I think that makes us a good match. But again, you’re kind of mysterious and I’ve never really met you before. I’ve read about you too and you look really good. I don’t know what I’m worrying about. You seem really cool to me. Let’s make these next several years some awesome ones. I can’t wait.

Alright, that’s all I have to write about in this post. Sorry for the really late post. I was busy graduating and dealing with family crap, so this kind of took a back seat. I could’ve written it after my last day, but I wanted it to be after my graduation, so it wouldn’t come out until Saturday anyways. I will have another post sometime this week I hope, so look forward to that. I hope you enjoyed, and thanks for reading!

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