School is not over yet; exams have yet to come, but tonight I went through the complicated tribulation of the graduation ceremony and emerged (although somewhat tired) unscathed. The ceremony was long, and at times dull, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless. I cried when our teachers sang, because not only did they sing well, but I thought about all they've done for us during our schooling. It's part of the reason I'm going into teaching, I think--not to sing, but just to affect others' lives in such a profound manner. I've been lucky to have a great number of dedicated teachers who do more than impart facts. They've supported me and shaped me as a person. Similarly, valedictorian Cassie Graham's speech was moving and flawlessly delivered. I mean, Dr. Seuss?! That alone deserves mucho kudos--there are very few people wiser than that man, and the quotation that Cassie chose was spot-on. But it was much more than that. It was personal. There was something in there that let everyone stop and nod and say, "That was me."
It was surreal, in a sense, as I walked away from the stage, proceeding out the auditorium doors and into the much-needed fresh air. I've graduated high school. It's one of these seminal moments that define our culture, the kind of special ceremony portrayed with honour and reverence in TV shows and movies. It is our coming of age. I'm also so focused on the future that I forget the present. I'm a seventeen-year-old who has just graduated high school.
I'm scared. I've been coddled for the last 17 years. Now I'm on the cusp of adulthood; now I have to make my own choices and actually guide my own life. While I am intellectually ready to move on to higher learning, I'm going to miss the social setting of high school. I am not a terribly social person, but I still have my little group of close friends, and they mean a lot to me--and I'm not sure if I express that enough.
I'm going to Lakehead University next year, so I won't even be leaving the city. My goal is to become a high school teacher. Rather simple, eh? But it's what I want to do (and write novels!). Many of my friends are staying here to go to LU or Confederation College, so I will still see them. Two of my closest friends, Cortney and Vivike, are leaving for southern Ontario to pursue their goals, and I'm going to miss them so much--and this is an awareness that has only quickened recently as the end of the year approaches.
For you see, I am afraid of change. A basic aspect of my personal philosophy has and always will be that change is good. Change is a fundamental aspect to humanity without which we would not survive. We should embrace change. Yet I'm afraid of it all the same. I'm scared of what's out there, this big unknown in front of me. What am I going to do?
This isn't unique, I know. And right now, that's the only thing keeping me on track: the fact that I know I'm not alone. :D It's just an expression of what everyone goes through at multiple points of their life, when they reach this crucial turning point that will define a new portion of their story. It's not even poignant or profound, but give me a break--after all, I just sat through a three hour ceremony. My diction isn't exactly well-rested.
I'm not even sure what I wanted to say anymore. I just wanted to collect my thoughts about this whole graduation experience. After all--now we're people. And I just wanted to say how immeasurably proud I am of my peers, and especially of my friends, for all of our accomplishments, and for our bright prospects.
I'm going to miss high school, and I'm going to love university. I'm sad to go and happy to move on.... I don't know. I'm going to stop now, because I'm not making any sense, I don't think. There's just too many emotions clashing in my heart right now to talk about any particular feeling. I've done my best, too, to avoid as many of these cliches that seem to dogmatically follow graduation (although I'm sure there's a few in here somewhere).
Here's a random thought! We're six billion apes crammed onto a moist rock hurtling through the vast expanse of space. No steering wheel, no brakes. We think we're special because we've got fire and a stick.
And yeah, I think that digital watches are a neat idea. I'm Ben Babcock, and I just graduated high school. Now someone gimme a stick. It's my turn to make fire.