As a senior with a week and a half of high school left, the question I'm asked the most is (in some form or another), "How do you feel about graduating?"
Honestly? I don't think it's a big deal.
Now, I realize that from a world perspective, the blessing of a high school education is a huge deal.
However, my point is that the moment of graduation itself is not the life-changing moment that people make it out to be.
I will walk across that stage, receive my diploma, and sit down again (that's how it works right?). Will I feel any different in that exact second? Probably not. I'll be next to all the same friends. I'll be thinking about all the same things. I'll have all the same knowledge that I had the day before. I'll have the same plans for my future. The only difference will be the card in my hand.
What about later that day? I'll talk to people, be congratulated a million times, take an unending hailstorm of pictures, and semi-fake smile until my face hurts. Basically, I'll be in a horror movie.
That night, or maybe sometime the next day (after partying it up) I'll drive home. That's probably when it will start to hit. That weekend will probably very emotional. By Saturday afternoon, though, I'll be heading to grad parties. Seeing the people that I may have just said goodbye to the day before.
Sunday, there will probably be a couple more.
Then, Monday morning will hit. I'll wake up, and realize that I do not have to attend school that day. I'll be 'free'.
And I'll be a changed person.
But not because of graduation. That won't change me. My friends that graduated last year were not radically changed because someone handed them a diploma.
No, they were radically changed by the last four years.
My point is, it's not the moment itself that will be radical, life changing, or impactful. It's the four years that moment represents. Those were what changed me.
And I've already experienced them, recollected them, enjoyed them, suffered through them, and been delighted by them. I don't need graduation to let me do that.
So why let this one supposedly "huge moment" affect me?
I've already been affected. It's been amazing. The people have been amazing. The knowledge has been amazing. I've been changed. My life has already been changed, and I don't need a diploma to know that.
Yeah, people may drift away. I'll miss them (some more than others). But the people I care about will not fade, not right away. I'll hang out with them, as usual. We'll carry each other through to college, when I'll be able to form new friendships. Will it be easy? No.
But that's nothing new either.
So, the real reason I have a tough time answering the question, "How do I feel about graduation?" is because I don't set it up as a mountainous event in life's terrain.
People are rarely truly formed by momentous events. Far more often, it's what makes those momentous events happen. Sure, the moments stick out. But that doesn't mean that's what life is about.
However, I'm also 18. I realize I haven't lived life out. Maybe in 2 weeks, I'll rescind this entire post.
And maybe the American presidency will be bought for a few billion dollars. I doubt either will happen.