This is my final semester, and I am not sad

The+snow+still+falls+every+year%2C+and+even+though+I+despise+what+that+entails%2C+I%27m+hopeful+that+from+here+on%2C+I+can+choose+beauty.

Travis Rupert (Pexels)

The snow still falls every year, and even though I despise what that entails, I’m hopeful that from here on, I can choose beauty.

This is my final semester at FHC—a goodbye in a wintry climate, one Michigan never holds back on with her icy blows and fickle snow.

And I am not afraid of leaving. I would walk across the stage now if I could, but with the way COVID-19 cases have been in the U.S., I doubt there will even be a stage that I can walk across.

With the blanket of snow hiding the grass below, I can’t quite help but feel that FHC has been like the snow to me. My months in school are a blanket; I hide beneath them, hide under my homework, and hide myself, my passions, my actual goals from peers and educators. In return, I wither with each snow. It’s a tormenting relationship as I love to learn, as I love how softly cold the snow is, but I still ache with every year that it inevitably returns.

I relish my time without that snow, and the days of summer and breaks and late weekend mornings slip through my hands. Their intangibility is tantalizing. It’s a lesson, but it’s one I refuse to learn. I defiantly refuse to decipher it’s meaning—Lady Fate cannot force my eyes this time.

But wherever I end up, there was an essence of choice that I frankly have not had at 17 years old here.”

So the Zoom calls are bittersweet; a part of me has already dissolved into the idea of life after high school, a life that’s just… different.

The pessimistic part of my personality declares that there will always be snow, and I accept that. Snow is, after all, beautifully sharp with its glistening and gleaming flakes. Yet the difference comes from the fact that I control the weather from now on.

No, I’m not magical, and no, I’m not Jack Frost.

But wherever I end up, there was an essence of choice that I frankly have not had at 17 years old here. I did not choose to live in Michigan (I much more like the idea of Hawaii or Vermont or somewhere that has a Zaxby’s), I did not choose to attend FHC out of the local high schools, and I did not choose to drive iced-over roads far too often.

It’s this absence of choice that ruins the beauty of snow and hiding bits and pieces of myself like treasures for the lucky and the annual withering that would surely only lead to ritualistic rebirth if I sprouted somewhere else.

That’s why I’m okay with this goodbye even though I cannot finish books or TV shows or even some meals—I finally have a choice that isn’t whether or not I should tattoo myself or whether or not I should spray paint a downtown bridge (which I have not done, for the record).

I’ve worked hard to make a community for myself here at FHC; I’ve endured wanting to leave this school for years, endless closet crying, and months of thinking that graduation could not come soon enough. Truthfully, this hand-crafted community of friends and clubs and my words have made these factors more bearable, but they are still here, especially when the blizzard comes.

And it always has.

Frozen tears will still come in this final snowfall. I will still mourn the moments I’ve been lucky to have and the fleeting feeling of safety that a preplanned education path has gifted me for the past 17 years.

But this is a goodbye I’m excited for, tearfully so at that, because the pieces that follow me beyond this wintry season will at least be the ones I have chosen.

I now have a choice.