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Graduation

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This is the time of year that has everyone buzzing. “Graduation! Graduation! How exciting!” They whisper. This is the time of year that has the youngsters nervous. Soon, they will be leaving the comfort and safety of their elementary schools and move on to the darker and scarier middle school. Teens in high school are preparing to leave their dreary classrooms and start life fresh and new as an adult. And then you have me.

As an eighth grader, I am torn between the nervousness of an elementary school student and the eager excitement of a teen. I’m right in the middle, stuck in between two huge parts of my life. I’m no longer a child, but I hardly feel like an adult. I’m nearing the awkward teen stage of my life; the one all the movies promise will be terrible transition. And yet, I find myself not caring about any of these things. Sure I’m terrified to go to high school, but what scares me more is leaving behind my middle school. How could this be?

From 6th to 8th grade, I was home schooled. As a shy, quiet kid, I didn’t do well in public school. To my delight, I found out there was a home schooling program in my town. I could finally escape the vice grip of public school! I was happy to find they even offered optional classes at the home schooling program, so I would have the opportunity to be social with fellow home schooled kids in my grade range. After one meeting with a teacher at the program, I decided then and there I absolutely have to be home schooled.
I never imagined that one decision would change my life so much.

It’s strange to me to look back over the past three years and see how much I’ve grown. As a person, I’m much less shy and much more outspoken. Heck, I’m even going to a public performing arts school next year. As a student, I’ve learned more than I ever thought I would. My grades went up, and I was able to be more confident in school. But more importantly… I was happy. Happy to have the classmates I did, happy to have the lovely teachers who work at the home schooling program.

Somehow, without me noticing, these people became a huge part of my life. Gradually, I could barely remember what life was like before home schooling. I was meant to be there, as if it was made for me. Without me realizing, I found myself a part of a family there. And now I have to accept the bitter reality of leaving.

It’s a part of life, I realize. I knew I couldn’t stay forever. The book pages would turn, the chapter would end and a new one would begin. I dreaded turning that page. I didn’t want to know what happens beyond the now when I’m safe, every so snug, where I am. I could stay on this chapter forever, reading and rereading. But life doesn’t quite work that way. All school year I felt this way. Now, as graduation nears ever so close, I realize I’m going to have to read that chapter eventually.

Looking back on my life for the past three years makes me realize I’m finally ready to. The people I’ve met, the people I've come to care about so much, have prepared me for this. High school was and still is something hard for me to imagine. It’s ever so hard to see myself being a high school student, wandering the corridors of a huge and intimidating school. But with the support of these people I’ve met, I feel as though I could take on the world.

And I can never thank them enough for that, never put into words how much they mean to me. For now, the only thing I can do for them- for myself- is look towards the future and hope I can make them proud.



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