It’s my last semester of high school, ever. The time has rushed past me like a gust of wind. I don’t understand how I got so far; I really don’t.
I’ve been walking these halls for three and a half years. I’ve been going to school with the same people for ten years. Familiarity. Comfort. Happiness.
I am comfortable here. It was quite the journey to even get that far. To be able to say you are comfortable in a place is one thing, but feeling that warm, fuzzy feeling of comfort is completely different.
I grew here.
I spent the first year of high school with blue glasses, getting over the underbite my orthodontist gave me with appliances, and of course, braces. I was a size two. I had hair that could not be controlled. I wore weird outfits. One I remember in particular is a navy blue, flower-patterned shirt with navy blue jeans. I got nervous to talk to new people. I felt small. Seniors seemed big. I was me, but I was fourteen. I had a big, bright pink backpack with my initials.
Wow. I was fourteen here. I finished my awkward stage here. I was here before the new Athletic Hall of Fame. I was here before the hallways were lined with pictures, and I was here before I was ready to be.
Sophomore year. I don’t think my schedule was hard, but I think of that year as very challenging emotionally. I went through a lot of changes that year, and I made a lot of changes in my personality.
Reserved. Shy. Quiet. Alone.
That was who I was. I was a fifteen-year-old with so much to gain, but I lost myself.
Well, she– I am not that girl anymore.
Junior year came a little easier. I got brown glasses, grew a few inches, started controlling my hair with a straightener, and got a black backpack to blend in with the crowd. I felt taller. I was an upperclassman. My wardrobe changed to leggings and t-shirts, sometimes with flannels over them. I was nervous to talk to people, but I wanted to be outgoing.
So I decided I was going to be.
I took risks. I started working two jobs, both with people from different schools. I began to build strong foundations with those people. Some, well, they turned out to be a pretty big part of my life. Other relationships drifted apart, but someday we can all reconvene.
I went to the culinary program at Kent Career/Technical Center. I started becoming myself again. I met so many people from so many schools; I am still close with some of those people today. I became outgoing. I became stronger. I started being me.
I am here now. I am a senior. I am in my final months with the same people. Familiarity will be lost. The kids I have grown up with, we will be separated. I will be alone. A little fish on a college campus.
I started this year with so much hope. I started this year as myself, embracing my quirks, and being unique. I have gotten far this year: straight hair, tall, my trademark straight smile on my face, a pen always in hand, my planner next to me, and ready to gain my confidence back.
I did. I am myself, and I believe I am the best version of myself I could possibly be.
I began my passion this year: teaching younger kids. Four days a week, an hour and a half a day, I dedicate my time and my heart into making these kids brighter and happier, learning skills that will hopefully get them far in life.
My classmates are leaving. I am leaving. Our connection will be gone.
We will be lost. Our school identities and colors, recreated and reinvented. I will not be with my classmates. I will not see any familiar faces.
I will be me.
I will take the knowledge I have gained from Forest Hills and bring that to Central Michigan. Everything will be left behind, but not forgotten.
We will be us, but we will be separated. Not as one, but as ourselves.