School of Thought: Enjoying the present

It’s very hard for the human mind to comprehend fundamental changes to the status quo. Maybe that’s why I still haven’t realized that I’ll be graduating from high school in a week.

Actually, let me correct that statement. It’s not that I haven’t realized that I’m graduating; I mean, I know that it’s going to happen, and I know that the school year is almost over, and I know that I’ll be in college next year. But I guess I haven’t truly begun to comprehend these things yet. For the last three years, as school has annually drawn to a close, I’ve approached each summer vaguely anticipating my return to high school at the season’s end. I always thought that as a second-semester senior, I’d feel a sense of finality—some sort of knowledge that soon, I’d be done, and high school would really be over. But now, at the risk of sounding immature, I feel largely the same as I did last year.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t gone through the last exalted rituals of senior year. I haven’t walked at graduation yet, I haven’t gone to prom. I suppose there’s always the chance that I’ll wake up the day after graduation fundamentally transformed, no longer a high school student at heart. Or maybe it’s a more gradual change—a slow slide forward into adulthood. My feelings won’t change all at once; I won’t be in the college mindset until I’m actually there next September.

Writing this column, however, I’m realizing that perhaps I shouldn’t be worried about still feeling like a high school student. After all, I’ll have the next four years to feel the pressures of college life. This is the last chance I’ll ever have to avoid many of those responsibilities. Besides, I still have high school obligations. As long as those still exist, I figure I have an excuse not to let go of my current state of mind. And sure, there’s a lot to be said for growing up, but I have all summer to do that. I might as well enjoy the tail end of my youth while I can. While I’m excited to mature and progress into the next stage of my life, for now, I think it’s justified to enjoy the present before it’s all just nostalgia. And what’s wrong with that?

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