9:20 a.m. | 2001-05-27
Peering into the mirror, two things happen to me simultaneously. First, I hear a tune running through my head that is familiar and yet strange in a way, and, secondly, I am trying to see if I really look any different. The tune running through my head is the familiar and yet strange Pomp and Circumstance that I have heard for years and years when I have attended the graduations of so many of my good friends and relatives. But, for some reason, it sounds different today. And then there is the “me” looking back from the mirror. I always thought that I would look different on the day that I graduated from high school. Everyone else had looks so poised and so grown up on their special day, but I am just the same as I was yesterday and even last year. Nothing has changed; my mind and my looks are exactly the same and in
some small way I feel cheated. Over and over for the past few years I have heard, “Wait until you graduate....things will be different.” Well, where, I wonder, is the difference? In just a few hours I will be graduating from High School. It is my commencement. Even that seems like a strange word when all I can think
about right now is all of the things that I will be leaving behind. How can this be a beginning when it is actually an ending. I can remember all the days I complained about having to get up and go to school, complained about the
cheerleading practices, complained about the rules and regulations which kept
me from doing what I wanted. Tomorrow, I will not be a student anymore
and I will be expected to make my own decisions and my own rules in life.
Let me tell you, that is more than just a little frightening. I wonder if all of my classmates are feeling the same things I am right now? I always thought
that some special sort of wisdom would come to me when I was about to
graduate from high school and I would know exactly where I was going and
what I was supposed to do to get there.
This day of departure is probably one of the biggest journeys that I will
ever take in life. And somehow, I feel that someone forgot to send me the
road map. What’s more...I am not even sure where it is that I want to be
when I get there. One would never set out on any other journey without a
destination and a map of how to get there. But on this journey, I am on my
own. I think that I have the tools to get there safely. And at least I know
what kind of a person I want to be. But, it that all there is? Thirteen years of school all building up to this? A couple of hours of ceremony, hugs, tears, and parties and then I will be on my own. I always thought it would be more fun than this and a lot less scary!
So this is the departure. I would give almost anything to be able to predict my arrival. Where will I go, what will I do, who will I meet along the way. In five years, will my friends still be the same? Will I even know them or they know me? Or will we be as strange to one another as the face that is
looking back at me from the mirror?