Journey, Not Destination

Innumerable class periods I’ve spent staring at the clock’s red-lit digits by the door, waiting. Waiting for the next class, to wait for the next class, to wait for lunch, to wait for the next class, to wait for the day’s last bell.

As a senior, this waiting game intensifies as one waits not only for the end of each school day, but for the end of his or her high school career. Urban Dictionary describes senioritis as “a lack of studying, repeated absences and a generally dismissive attitude.” If that’s true, then a number of my classmates should’ve been diagnosed years ago. Call it “senioritis” if you wish, but at every stage of life, one may feel inclined to fantasize about the next.

Numerous clichés come to mind that encourage living in the moment and not counting unhatched chickens. But, the truth is, between planning for the future, reminiscing about the past and Instagramming the present, many (myself included) fail to appreciate each fleeting moment.

Being excited for the future isn’t wrong, and planning is necessary. But just as transitioning from elementary to middle school wasn’t all personal lockers and passing periods, entering junior or senior year isn’t just better parking or the title of “upperclassman.” Likewise, freedom, attractive people and parties won’t be the only factors that comprise post-high school life.

Older people write nostalgic songs and novels about high school days for a reason. They love to remind us, much to our disdain, that this is one of the “easiest” times of our lives.

While these Napoleon-Dynamite’s-Uncle-Rico-like romanticizations of high school may irritate and annoy, students idealizing life after high school is a similar line of thought. Living life in the past is arguably as wasteful as living it in the future.

So, take life in stride. Some of our classmates will find an occupation after graduation and stick with it for 10, 20, 30 years. But regardless of one’s future career path, most only get four years of high school football games, debate tournaments and science classes.

High school is the last time for many that one’s greatest responsibility is oneself. Cherish the last few years of free public education, and don’t be done with high school before you’re actually done with high school.