And they’re off – a final message to the class of 2001
The long wait is over. After four years of the academic and social angst that is inevitably married to the high school experience, graduation came and went last weekend. To all seniors of the graduating class of 2001, the following thoughts are for you.
Amazingly enough, Saturday marked the five-year anniversary of my graduation day. That puts me at T-minus five years to the 10 year reunion date. The week of my big day I read a poignant column in the Denver Post about graduation and the future, which I clipped and saved as memorabilia. I have reread the article several times since then, and am always amazed how I find new meaning in its message as I change and get older.
While I have no grand illusions that this year’s graduating class will be as intrigued with my column’s ramblings, I have picked up a few scraps of wisdom over the 1,725 days since I first gripped my diploma.
Anecdotes about the evils of credit cards and fake IDs or roommate woes could add a little humor to my message, but would probably fall on deaf ears, just as they did for me when others tried to share their experience. Instead, I will disclose the most important lesson I have learned in these days, months and years of independence: your life is what you make it.
Virginia Woolf wrote of the apathy of time and the inability of man to halt progress. The older I get, the more this realization rings true. Visiting old friends from high school, I see those who have grabbed hold of the reigns as well as those who have let time pass relatively unnoticed. Some of my fellow students have moved ahead and are in graduate school, entry level jobs, getting married and, dare I say, having children. Others continue to tread water without a shoreline in view.
We have all taken different paths in search of happiness and some are further along than others, but what is important is to continue to move forward. Time passes at an increasingly quicker pace – especially when you pay your own rent and the first of the month comes all too frequently. It is so easy to cling to what is familiar and comfortable, stay close to home and hold onto friends and memories from the past.
The scariest experiences of my life have also been the most rewarding and have molded me into the person I am today. Getting together with old friends reminds me how much I have changed – in more ways than growing out my bangs or throwing away the blue eyeshadow.
Graduation day is so much more than the end of lockers, football games and school dances. It sounds the horn for the main event – your life. How rewarding it is rests entirely in your hands.
Lara Mullin is the Sierra Sun
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