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Graduation

Graduation is one of those events teenagers can’t wait for and yet dread at the same time. It’s the day they are finally done with high school, and the day they venture out into the frightening world of adulthood. Oddly enough, it seems like it’s always the ones who are most certain of their future that fear this day the most. I, for one, get very apprehensive when I realize that it’s not that far away, and can’t help picturing how that day might go…

I imagine the day of my graduation starts well. I’m well-rested, and already have everything set out. I begin to prepare for the day with utmost care. Shortly before we leave, family members begin arriving at my house. I can’t help but feel like I’m trapped as Mom forces me to take pictures with everyone. Finally (despite my mom’s objections), I leave the house and make my way to Sedan High School one final time. My palms are sweating profusely, and I can’t decide if it’s good or bad that I’m nervous. I arrive at the school, find my friends, and talk quietly about idle topics while we wait.

Eventually, I realize it must be close to time to go to the gymnasium; everyone is glancing at their clocks every 10 seconds, and one or two of the girls from the class have already started tearing up. It’s finally time to go, and we start walking to the other building. Everyone is giddy with excitement and anxiety, laughing hysterically at every little comment whether it’s funny or not. We all wait in a line outside the gym until we hear the victorious drum beats of Pomp and Circumstance. My heartbeat quickens to a threatening rate, and I fight to maintain composure as I follow my fellow classmates out into the gymnasium.

As I walk in, I instantly feel as if everyone is staring at me. I manage to spot some of my family members in the bleachers, and attempt to manage a weak grin in their direction that I assume must look to them like a grimace. We find out seats and sit down as the ceremony begins. I listen idly as everyone takes their turn at the podium, and clap politely when appropriate. I snap out of my daze, though, when I see Kyle take the stand to give his valedictorian speech, and I realize that I’m next. I’m so nervous I can’t focus on anything he says no matter how hard I try; I manage to catch him mentioning some memories of our class that he was sharing, and I started desperately hoping I wouldn’t repeat any of the same things.

Soon afterward I hear applause, and now it’s my turn. I go into a numb state, not fully comprehending all of my actions and yet still reveling in the experience. I manage to give my speech flawlessly, other than a few shaky breaths in between paragraphs. I finish with a final piece of motivational advice, and applause rips through the gym, attacking my eardrums; I’m taken aback. I sit back down, and try to steady my breathing as the procession continues.

They finally order us to rise and stand in a line to receive our diplomas. I stare at the back of the person in front of me and try to keep calm. Baylee is reading through the names rather quickly, seemingly on purpose. Then a thought occurs to me; it’s probably my own anxiety throwing my sense of time out of proportion. Baylee finally calls my name; I walk slowly up onto the platform and past the podium. I shake hands with Mr. Todd, giving him my cheesiest fake smile ever (which is saying something), and return to my seat. The moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived; silence falls over the gymnasium. Then Mr. Hills finally exclaims, “I now present to you the Sedan High School graduating class of 2011!”, and all at once the entire gym is filled with applause, cheers, laughter, and graduation caps flying through the air.

The excitement doesn’t last too long; soon it takes on a somber note. We hear our graduation song start to play, and we rise to give our flowers to our friends and family members. Parents and students alike are crying openly all around me, and as I make my way to my mom she begins crying as well. I feel a lump start to form in my throat, but I maintain my composure as I hug her and move on. I finish passing my flowers out and return to my seat. A few others are done already, but individuals such as Kat and Baylee seem to have millions of them.

Everyone finishes passing their flowers out and return to their seats. Mr. Todd and Mr. Hills give a few more pieces of advice, then the victorious beats of The Fight Song sound out and we make our way out of the gymnasium. We all wait on the ramp outside the building to shake hands and greet friends and family. It seems to take FOREVER, but I’m surprised to find that I actually enjoy it, particularly getting to see friends I hadn’t seen in many years. The endless sea of people slowly turns into a flowing stream, which turns even more slowly into a faint trickle until there is no one remaining. I look at the others in my class, and realize that it would probably be the last time I ever see some of them. I say my goodbyes and hug some of my close friends, then slowly, ever so slowly, make my way to my vehicle, which I knew was ready to spirit me away on the complicated journey of life.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

MaddieGr This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 2, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I graduate this year too >_<

Really descriptive :)

 
Klouda replied...
Oct. 12, 2010 at 3:02 pm
Thank you very much for your input ;)
 
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