The Last-But Not The End

Emily Kromer

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I have often asked myself in my final days before the end of high school, why am I sad to leave? Is it the people? The classes? Or the sudden realization that I’m one step closer to growing up?

As a person who has been known to hide away from change, it has been hard to succumb to the reality that everyday this year has been a last. From the last homecoming, the last home game, our last Monday or even our last time eating the school lunch are all things that we were so used to, but will never get back again.

I couldn’t hold back the emotions as we walked through the elementary schools, parading our achievement to those who still have a long way to go. After the cheers and high fives from the young students were over, I was left with the curiosity about their futures. I remember looking up at high schoolers when I was younger and remarking at how much older they were, how much taller they were…now what did we look like to them? Did our appearance spark as much awe as those before did for me? I shiver at the fact that in about ten years, they’ll be doing the same exact thing I am doing today. It’s hard to think about how society will raise them or what their version of drama will be. I wish I could engrave in their tiny minds that, time really does go by fast and life is too short to even waste one day focusing on something that doesn’t make you happy. It gets old, growing up on everyone saying that. Trust me, the amount of times I heard people say that but for some reason tucked it away. I thought I knew everything, I thought I was above the norm and statements like that were below me. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I wish I knew how everything would work out. I wouldn’t change my experience for anything, but it took me awhile to appreciate that advice. No matter where you are in life, it is hard to fully understand advice like that until you have actually been there. But as I come to realize life is designed for us to make mistakes. As my experience up until now has proved, there is no guarantee in life. You can plan and prepare, but you can never map out the product perfectly. In a way, that is what makes life interesting. It sounds cliche to say that, “It feels like just yesterday I was in their shoes.” Nevertheless, it’s true. Years of going through the motions and same routine creates an illusion of time. The mentality that you have another day and another chance to do the things you want to interferes with the actuality that time isn’t growing, it’s ticking away. Before you know it, your time in this chapter of your life is over and your pen is itching to write a new one.

Over the years, I have heard numerous people say that they don’t talk to anyone from high school once they graduated. Each person is different and I understand that no situation is the same. But no matter the circumstances, in some way, the people you walk across the stage with are the people who have shaped your life so far. You don’t have to remember them as your friend, your enemy or even the person you never talked to. You have to remember them as the people who shaped you who you are. Everyone has the capability and exercises their ability to impact others. However, it’s up to the individual to decide if you want to make it a positive or negative one. I wish I could say I have never influenced anyone in a manner that wasn’t desirable. In the end, at some point in our lives we have unfortunately made mistakes that affected not only ourselves, but the people around us. What I think people overlook is the fact that with every mistake comes an opportunity to learn. Whether you are the victim or the instigator, mistakes can’t be erased, but they can be mended. Hopefully across the board, our Class of 2018 can use our mistakes that we made the past four years to aid our success in the future.

Next year at this time, we will all be in different places and the places we were once in will be filled with a new wave of accomplishments. Ten years from now, our places will continue to drift and the cycle will remain the same. The future is so unwritten, it’s hard to try and gaze into the blurry crystal ball. These four years taught me that the only person with the ability to dictate my life is myself. No matter who you are, I thank you for giving me four years I will always remember and continue to remember through my actions. To those who still have some time to go, the power is yours to decide how it goes.