It’s one thing to look back on significant moments and remember how they changed your life. But how strange is it, when you are in a significant moment, knowing that it will change your life – anonymous.
You’ve graduated. You can breathe a sigh of relief.
On that last day of school, you find yourself taking your time as you drive to your classes for one final time. You take notice of each and every room that you ever worked in – this year, last year and the year before that. You reflect on the lessons you have learnt, the memories you have made, and the critical learning curves and challenges you have faced.
You would be lying if you said you weren’t happy to be graduated. The truth is, you’ve faced some tough obstacles and adversity. High school has never been easy. But you leave feeling proud that you got through it all and that you’ve learnt a lot about the world and yourself.
On Tuesday night, you walk into that hall, down the aisle, knowing you will reach a destination – the end. The end of a long journey that has spanned from the first day of primary school to the present. 14 years of being a student (one extra for you).
What’s crazy is that now all the adults in your life are telling you’re now an adult. It’s time to go out into the big world.
Are you ready for that? How would you know?
You win an award for academic excellence in legal studies. Your hard work paid off and you can’t wait to show your parents after the ceremony despite them already watching you collect it.
But the most emotional part of the ceremony was final roll call.
You are reminded that roll call has been a part of your daily school life since prep. Every day, your name would be called out, and you would answer with “here”.
It feels kind of sad knowing you will no longer have that part of your life. It sinks it how significant it really is.
When your name is called out, it’s to check that you are here. If you’re not here, teachers will inquire as to why which is usually because they hope you are okay. They are concerned when you are not at school. But in the real world, nobody cares if you are here or not. Nobody is going to call your name out in the morning to check that you are safe and sound.
Mum told you the other night “there is no sweeter sound to somebody’s ears than the sound of their own name”. That makes sense now.
Your home room teacher Mr Lovell, gives a heartfelt, yet entertaining speech on your class 12FS. It’s full of funny and accurate depictions of the class you’ve spent this last year with.
You reflect on how Mr Lovell was the kind of teacher who – without fail – would ask you every morning in pastoral care, how your weekend was and how you were doing. He continuously looked out for you and even encouraged you with your writing and future aspirations.
Mr Lovell ends his speech with a song to reflect your class’s efforts in every single Friday pastoral care challenge. “We are the champions” – coz hell yeah, you guys won the pastoral care cup!
Your name is called out for the final time. You try to let that feeling linger and smile gratefully when the principle hands you your certificate of graduation.
You reached the end.
Amongst crowds of students and parents taking photos, you find your family and old carers who have been there from the beginning. The most important people are there, that’s all that matters. They are all very proud of you. Streamers of celebration explode from above, unexpectedly and you laugh as you are wrapped in rainbows.
You thank all the teachers who took the time to notice you, talk to you, listen to you, help you, and even coach you through hard times. Teachers have always been some of the most impactful people in your life. Even without many friends, you knew for sure you had teachers who had you back and who would encourage you to persevere. You would literally not be here without them.
When you’ve said all your goodbyes and get through the crowds of people, you’re out into the chilli night. You exclaim excitedly once again to mum that you have graduated! Your family tell you they are proud. You’re lucky they gave you everything that made this all possible.
You make your way out of the school grounds, with tears in your eyes. You try to let the feelings all sink in. You try to wrap your head around what just happened. You try to tell yourself it was all over – with exception to exams being the last obstacle. But still, you can’t believe it.
Before you know it, you get half way home without putting your earphones in for the first time in ages. Instead, you let the cold breeze dry the tears on your face. You let the wind fill my lungs and give you air to breathe. You take in the surroundings, noticing how familiar and how much you had gotten used to this route to school. It was second nature.
You reach this one intersection that’s about half way between your house and school. You have to wait at the stoplights and as you wait, you notice how quiet the intersection is as traffic has halted for a moment. Waiting at that intersection, you were struck with an epiphany.
Intersections can be one of the most important parts of our map. They are the beginning and the end of multiple different roads in the one place. Each road leads to a different destination.
You realise that you are now at your own intersection in life. You have ended the road of being a high school student and you will now go on to bigger and better things. The only difference is, this time, you get to decide which way you go.