Jackie’s Senior Goodbye

Jackie Jerkins, Literary Editor

As the end of the year draws ever closer (nine glaring days more, at the moment I write this), I have been spectator to many of my emotional peers. High school is being torn out from under them, like a cheap tablecloth trick. I’ll confess I have tried to feel what every high school senior is supposed to feel—wistful, tender, tearful, or in a best-case scenario possibly bringing reminders of a distraught bird leaving its nest—but no dice. High school has not been the most pleasant four years of my life, I won’t lie. Who knew trying to keep to yourself and your studies would be such a task in a public institution?  I have struggled at the expense of sleep and the general tradition of restfulness trying to balance my life and my school life. Grinning, gritting, and bearing it, with all the social tragedy of a comical Buster Keaton-esque pathos, I’ve made it through. I am a high school survivor “and so can you,” as Stephen Colbert would put it. Silver linings and that sort of thing all point to one glowing facet: At least I know that I haven’t yet peaked.

As a kid, I never knew what I’d be like at eighteen. How strange to think back to my aspirations ten years ago, six years, four. I can’t remember myself ever quite aspiring to anything in high school apart from doing my homework and studying well—which I have done, mind you. I always had my sights set a tad higher; instead of hanging desperately on to the teeth of the beast I was always eager—and still am always eager—to stare down into the belly. For the better, it has made me understand that life does not end after high school. Au contraire. Just as all the poetry and movies have told you, it very much begins.

So, to whoever reads this, I bid you, you, and yes, even you, a pleasant and certainly not bitter adieu. I’ve nothing against high school, but I’m happy to be starting anew in light of its exit from the stage left of my life, just as a stubborn posy come springtime. In a fashion unfamiliar to ye pirates of olde, I am ecstatic to be walking the plank. The promise of a strange, new, and wonderful world after that splitting plunge into ocean is enough to satisfy me, and it was soldiering through these last four years that made me formidable enough to face it—to love the thrill of facing it. So maybe high school has, in the end, carried out its orders.

I suppose this senior goodbye serves as a tribute to those who perhaps feel that greater things are in store for them beyond the chain-link fence on Wellington Trace. As I have grown up, I’ve realized that it’s not unusual for high school to not be the greatest time of your life. In fact, it’s rather good. It means that you, and I, can only go up from here.