So I've graduated. There was hollering, crying and cheering. Praise was showered down upon us by teachers and parents alike. Everyone was so full of pride when we accepted our diplomas that they had no room for chatter, and solemn silence and clapping met every name that was called.
What does it all mean? What is high school, but a mere stepping stone in the grand scheme of life? Sure, there are fond memories, and a few fun classes, but how does anything we do in high school deserve a celebration? We do tests, we do homework, we race from class to class while struggling to share a word or two with a passing friend. We do this all as every other class had done for many years. I recognize the importance of high school, it introduces new topics so that we may better choose a major in college, and it soaks our brains in education that will certainly come in handy down the road. It has its importance, but why celebrate completing it? College is much harder and requires so much more out of its students, its graduation celebration is well deserved, but for high school? It's not hard, so why fill us with pride for something so small? I suppose it's to mark the end of our involuntary educational road. Our own choices will run our own lives from now on, and no one will lead us anymore. We won't be forced onto a bus, forced to sit in classes we hate, forced to live out every day in the same fashion for several years. Our lives are our own now. Perhaps it's not to celebrate the completion of high school, but the completion of our childhood. Some will continue to receive education, others will find work, some will leech off their parents while living in the basement. Everyone will carve out their own road in the dull rock of life. And we will pay for our mistakes. Our parents will no longer be blamed for our actions. We will not get away with things as we did in our youth. We're one step away from criminals, every day we must live carefully so that we don't end up in a cell somewhere. We must find our own money, and pay our own bills. We must find our own roof to live under and provide for our own family. We must get food, we must get a job, we must survive. We graduated from our own naive lives, and have moved on into reality, for better or for worse.
Perhaps, in a way, we did deserve a celebration. We earned our graduation through being innocent and following orders. It will forever be our first and easiest, it will mark the beginning and the end. The only graduation that may be as easy would be death. Taking your last breath and graduating from life itself may be easy, and perhaps painful, as well. Graduate to what, I do not know. To some afterlife, to a furnace to become ashes, to a hole somewhere. No one knows. So let us savor this graduation, this ceremony, for at least we have the slightest hint of where it may lead.
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