Graduation, or How I Learned to Get Over Myself
In approximately two weeks, 744 seniors will be leaving AHS to be immediately replaced by a multitude of ridiculously short and socially awkward freshmen. We leave our legacy behind to juniors—who may or may not be capable of filling our enormously ambitious shoes. And, as a reward for our four years of drudgery, we are thrown to the dogs.
For the sake of the sentimental, let’s break out the clichés now. Optimistic lovers of life would have you believe that the secret to life is to simultaneously “follow your heart,” “never look back,” “chase your dreams” and “live in the moment.” They will tell you that the key to happiness is to forgive and forget and that you should always believe in yourself.
This noncommittal advice is something typically found in the useless Facebook status updates of those desperately seeking the reassurance that someone out there, stranger or not, is paying attention. However, regardless of the lovely scintillating quality of these so-called “rules to happy living,” how absurdly ignorant would you have to be to live by these empty phrases?
Knowing the extent of human stupidity, it’d be disturbing if everyone completely believed in themselves. Case in point—you. You don’t have nearly enough emotional or mental maturity to make a sound decision. Then again, neither do I. Needless to say, it isn’t the best, nor the most realistic idea to leave high school students to their own devices.
Most of us will go from high school to some variation of college, essentially a High School 2.0. Then, going from one laborious four years to another, we eventually find ourselves in a work-force where most of us will take on a nine-to-five career. Then, assuming we adhere to social norms, we will mechanically follow through with marriage, children, retirement and death. And, littered throughout our little lives, our mistakes will be infinitely stupider than we could have ever imagined in high school.
But in college, without our teenaged idyllic disillusionment, what do we have left? We recycle the colorful sheets of paper advertising high school as the “best time of our life.” Embossed certificates in gilded frames mean nothing after college applications. None of your new college buddies are going to care about your high school GPA or be at all interested in your class rank.
So, melt down your trophies and medals. They’re probably worth as much as scrap metal. In the end, the only way to really live comfortably is to marry rich and die young.
Thus, when our high school achievements lay shriveled in a corner, all we have left to cultivate is our stinted sense of humility. No, none of us are “all that,” some of us aren’t capable of “reaching for the stars” and, despite our very best attempts, some of us will never even break that depressing cycle of mediocrity.
However, if not comfortably, the least that any of us can achieve is living happily. It’s clear that not all of us have the brains or leadership to ever be able to afford that Lamborghini or that new Gucci purse, but who’s to say that you need to? In the end, all you really need is to learn to laugh at yourself. Without that self-deprecating humor, the laughter you hear is just everyone else laughing at you.