As graduation nears, it’s a good time for seniors to look back at what they’ve learned. Although there are four years of wonderful memories to enjoy – four years of homecoming, four years of blood drives, and four years of trying to change your schedule so you and your friends would have the same English class – there are also four years of memories to analyze.
One of the most significant changes we have all experienced is personal growth. Ask yourself, “What new responsibilities have I undertaken?” Are you more independent? Is there anything you’ve regretted? What would you do differently? How fast were you going when you got your first speeding ticket? Did you challenge yourself academically? Did you discover your limitations? Should you have studied more? Should you have procrastinated less? What are you going to do about it? How could you have protected yourself from the infectious disease senioritis?
The act of maturing also entails increasing our awareness of the world around us. Have you been keeping up with current events? Where were you when you heard that terrorists had attacked the World Trade Center? What was your position regarding Operation Iraqi Freedom? Have you ever wondered, “Did Arthur Andersen audit the CIA reports on WMDs?” Do you still feel safe eating beef from Canada? From Mabton, Wash.? Did you cry when you saw the last episode of “Friends”?
High school is also about the relationships you have made and how they have changed. Who was your best friend in ninth grade? Who is your best friend now? What memorable activities have done together? How is the relationship between you and your parents? Have you grown further apart? Have you grown closer together? Have you pretended to grow closer together just so you have easier access to their credit card? Who is your favorite teacher? What is the most important lesson they have taught you? How is your love life? Do you have a girlfriend? Do you have a boyfriend? How’d you get together? For all you guys, was taking that AP class just to be with your girlfriend really worth it?
As the school year ends, all students will have finished writing an important chapter in their lives. There is much cause for celebration, but there is also much cause for contemplation. We should take a little time to read what we’ve written. That way, we will be able to write the next chapter of our lives with more skill and wisdom. After all, each of us has something to improve on, from procrastinating less to speaking more coherent German.
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