Friday, June 19, 2009
Never say “never” – except at graduation
It seems to me that the word “never” is overused in our society. “I’ll never talk to you again!” we say. “I’ve never told a lie.” “I never gossip.” Never acts like a substitute for almost, when it is supposed to mean that “something has or will not occur in the past, present, or future.” It is a weighty word easily misused.
Yet this week, I find myself caught in a strange place in time when I can properly use the word “never;” what’s more, I can apply it to the last four years of my life. To start with, I can assure you that I will never go to high school again. Not ever. I can walk through the halls, dodging the sour looks of hall monitors and teachers alike, but I will never again be a student. My diploma hangs on my wall as a constant reminder of this.
This graduation from not only high school, but also an entire part of my life, is different from any other graduation. When I left elementary school for middle school, I no longer ran through sprinklers during the summer. My friends and I were more concerned about lip gloss than having senseless fun – but we still could have had it. In fact, I could still run through the sprinkler in my backyard even today.
This graduation is different. An invisible force has separated me from the rest of the school. Instead of belonging, I am now a visitor. Come Thanksgiving, I can return to CC and walk down the halls, but I will be an alumna, not a cherished student. I will never fit in quite like I have these past years.
There are a lot of nevers at CC. I will never again stop by Dunkie’s to get munchkins for a class party; I will never again drive to Sorrento’s during my lunch block for a double slice. I will never again go to Starbuck’s for a warming cup of hot chocolate, only to arrive back in school a minute after the bell had rung. I will never again hang out with my friends in the radio station, or work on the school newspaper.
These are all good memories, and I know there are hundreds – thousands – more like them. Sledding on the numbers hill; going to my first football game; putting on shows and biting my nails nervously backstage. Of course, not all memories are this pleasant. I will never again have to sit in the cafeteria or take the SATs or look at my Geometry report card.
There are so many of these memories and the feelings that come with them welling up inside of me. As I ready myself to move on from high school – something I’ve been dying to do all year – it is hard to lay these aside. As relatives and friends continuously point out, I have just finished the last four years of my life. Four years of anyone’s life is a lot to get over. Four Super Bowls; four Halloweens; four years to make traditions that will ultimately be broken. My friends and I will be in separate states, even countries. We will no longer be able to celebrate birthdays or drive to school together.
This year will be a new experience for me – and that’s an understatement. Even as I look back, I am also trying to peer into the murky unknown college years. After all, I have never been to college before.
I have never been an 18-year-old freshman; I have never been to school in New York; I have never shared a dorm room before. The list goes on and on. I have never been to Broadway! I have never dated a guy in college! I have never stayed up until dawn writing papers! I have never been to college.
“Never” may seem intimidating right now, but as fall swings around and I head off to Hofstra University, I know I will be crossing a lot of those “nevers” off my list. And with my memories of the last four years in mind, I know that I can tackle anything that comes my way. ∆
© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito