Last night, June 24th 2015, was my high school graduation.
It feels odd, outstanding, and a bit nerve-wracking to say that I am officially a college freshman!!!
My HS graduation took place an entire week after the actual last day of school. Why? The world may never know. The entire graduation process began at 8:00 AM yesterday, when all graduating seniors who decided to walk were bussed to the Trenton War Memorial (where our graduation would be held later that night) for rehearsal.
It. Was so. Draining. Going through the pronunciations of 322 graduates’ names (TWICE I might add), practicing the slooow diploma hand-off and handshake, the senior song and alma mater, the procession and the recession 2-3 times… It was a lot for 322 seniors who have been sleeping in until 10 for almost a week now.
We left the TWM at 11:30 AM (!?!?) but apparently, according to our vice principal, we breezed through everything with great behavior and cooperation in comparison to previous years with previous classes of seniors.
Well, that’s just the fantabulous class of 2015 for ya. *pops collar*
After rehearsal I went home and ate the best pre-grad meal anyone could have: pizza and cheese fries. At around 2:45 PM I took a shower then started my hair and makeup. Now let me tell you: graduation makeup is one of the hardest things to do. You want to look GREAT and your makeup to be on POINT, but you don’t want to wear a lot because there’s always the looming possibility that you will break down into a fit of random, emotional tears that will drench your face and send your mascara running down your cheeks and for the hills. But I think I did a good job anyway.
None of it felt real. Arriving to the venue and seeing all of my classmates and best friends in their caps and gowns and cords and medals, it didn’t feel real. I would say it, over and over to my friends, “WE’RE REALLY GRADUATING!” sort of as an effort to push myself to grasp the gravity of the event, but it didn’t work. Nothing worked to make the fact that I was graduating hit me until we were waiting in our procession lines in the hallway next to the auditorium’s entrance and they told us, “Go, go, go, it’s time!”
At that moment, everything moved in slow motion. No, seriously. There were about 2 full seconds where everything quieted in my mind, except this: “Holy shit. It’s really happening.” Then I said it out loud to my friend in front of me on line as we walked out to applause and cheers. I was disappointed with myself at that point, because as soon as we entered the auditorium and I saw the thousands of faces beaming back at us, I started to cry. These people were friends and family members, people that watched all of us grow up and loved us and cared for us more than any of us could ever fathom. They were here supporting us because it was OUR moment! We were becoming adults! So yeah, I started to cry but it wasn’t a boohoo or anything. I got it together. Sort of. I cried here and there through all the speeches and the formalities. However, I didn’t cry when I walked and received my diploma. I was ALL SMILES.
And then, after YEARS of counting down to this day and months of preparation and three and a half hours of rehearsal… it was over. Just like that.
Graduation day was one of the best days of my life and I’m so happy to say that I had the privilege of graduating with all of my closest friends. That night culminated all of my hard work for four long years and 13 longer ones. I graduated the tenth in my class, with a GPA of 4.31, and with many other honors I put my blood, sweat, and tears into earning. I’m leaving behind so many teachers who changed my life and a high school that helped shape me into the young woman I am today.
But, along with the rest of the Class of 2015, I’m also leaving behind a legacy.
The stereotypical pessimistic teenager says, “Best four years of your life? Yeah right.” Yet, I believe that the high school experience is entirely WHAT YOU MAKE IT… and I made mine amazing. I’m so sad to leave Hamilton High School West, but so so so excited for this next chapter in my life. Let’s see if NYU gives these four years a run for their money…