I know my life has just begun, and yet it has been so full. When I close my eyes my life rushes at me; the pain, the laughter, and the moments that I have gathered over the past seventeen years. Some make me happy and others make me sad. I have learned many things and forgotten many others. I know my greatest lessons were not learned during class but after the bells rang, after some people cleared out. I find myself being pulled in so many directions it is impossible to know in what direction I am headed. My life is a whirlwind filled with so much, and yet it sometimes seems to have no true meaning. I have forgotten people that I was once unable to make it through a day without. I have gotten used to being my only true friend; the others have all come and gone. I know that much of what I’ve learned has come mostly from my community and my school. I have learned more about myself than I had ever hoped to know.

Lately I have found myself coming to school on weekends just to walk around outside, to go sit on the cold metal bleachers, and to stand on the sidelines where I have cheered for so many games. I remember the players who have come and gone and the moments that were truly amazing. The whole crowd would yell, “That’s the way we like it!” when Scott would catch a pass from David and run most the field, dodging all the other players. No one could catch him. In those moments we could all feel how he felt, the adrenaline, the push to be the best, to be the hero, to have pride and glory in doing what you do well. I can see it as if they are playing now. I can see the crowd on the old brown wooden bleachers, watching the game intently. It is so sad to know soon I won’t be able to do this.

I look over to the Project Adventure course and think of how I avoided it in my sophomore year only to take it and love it in my junior year. It pushed me, and it made me want to do things and to be better than everyone else. Project Adventure made me want to go higher and faster and push myself to see what else I could do. I grew up here. I changed here, and this school is more of a home to me than any other place has ever been. It is where I learned to be myself, learned that the easy way isn’t always the right way and in fact is often the wrong way. I learned that being yourself is the only way to survive and ever to be truly happy. I learned to own up to my mistakes and that it is OK or even good to laugh at yourself. I learned how to listen and how to watch. I learned when it is OK to talk and when it’s not. I know that sometimes rules need to be broken. I learned that speaking your mind is a form of art and must be done in a patient and understanding voice or it will never be heard.

These past four years have been the ones in which I have truly come into myself. I have finally recognized myself for who I am. I know what I am responsible for as well as for what I’m not. I have learned that my parents’ mistakes are their own and not mine. I know I am strong. I know I will get better and that I can do whatever I want in life. I have learned in the past four years what it means to be happy, and what it means to be sad. I have kept secrets, I have broken promises and I have been in love. I have seen my own failure, I have given up and I have pushed. I have learned that being better than someone else is not as important as being as good as you possibly can be.

And yet, after all of this, I know I have much to learn.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.