I picked up my cap and gown Thursday, and that was when it sunk in.
I’m graduating in two months.
Even though I’ve known for months the day when I’d toss my cap in the air and move on to the next stage of life was coming, the realization that my days in high school were numbered was jarring. In two short months, the routine I’ve grown used to, the people I see every day, watching sports with my family…. all of that is about to change.
My AP Literature class on the first day of senior year. (Photo courtesy of my awesome teacher. 😉)
And I’m feeling a little conflicted about all of it.
On one hand, I’m incredibly excited. In just a few months, I’ll be a student at the school I’ve loved since I was a little girl, and the dream I’ve had since I was six years old will come true. (We’re still working out details, but me going to UF looks promising.) I can’t wait to be on that campus every day and be surrounded by people who have as much passion for the orange and blue as I do. I can’t wait to jump into college life and begin gaining the knowledge and experience I need to be successful. I found out yesterday that UF students get in free to all athletic events except football games-and football season tickets aren’t expensive- and I really can’t wait to cheer on the Gators. You can bet I’ll be at every sporting event I can make it to.
On the other hand, I’m nervous and anxious about life beyond high school. What happens if I can’t open a door on my own and there’s no one around to open it for me? Will I be able to balance the rigor of college courses with covering Florida sports? How do I find my way to classes and the dining hall? And-God forbid this happens- what do I do if I fall? What happens if no one’s around to help me get back up, or if I get hurt?
These questions bounce around in my mind and wind knots in my chest, but then I think back to my first day of high school.
I had similar fears. In fact, I was so scared that on the first day, I sat in first period with my hands in my lap so no one could see they were shaking.
I’ll be honest. That first day and the first semester weren’t the easiest. There were many times when I felt as if I didn’t fit in, and I wanted more than anything to go to another high school, the one the majority of my friends went to.
But you know what? It worked out.
I made friends, many of whom were seniors who helped me become acclimated to high school. I took journalism and joined a few clubs, and slowly, I began to feel like I belonged. As a freshman, I would’ve given anything to switch schools, but now, I dread the day I’ll have to leave. And when I think about the last four years, I think of memories I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. My W15H with Tim Tebow. Being named the Writing Club President, and running it with two of my closest friends. Junior year, walking the school’s halls as a member of our homecoming court, and then this year, being crowned homecoming queen. There were down moments along the way too of course, but they taught me lessons and helped me grow in ways I otherwise wouldn’t have.
Me, moments after being crowned Homecoming Queen. It was an incredible honor I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
My high school experience has been a ride to remember, and I have a feeling college will be similar. Will the first few months be difficult? Probably. Will I encounter challenges and obstacles to overcome? Definitely. Will the next few years be unforgettable? Without a doubt.
Note: I’m going to start posting more regularly- twice a week on Sunday and Wednesday afternoons.