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The Mixed Emotions That Come From Moving On

 I officially graduated from high school on Friday, and to be honest, I have mixed feelings about it.

On one hand, I’m glad to leave because I’ve been at this school for thirteen years, worn the same uniform for thirteen years, and am sick and tired of the place.

But there’s a part of me that just didn’t want to leave. This place has been my second home; the one thing that remained constant in my life for the last thirteen years. It’s the place where I’ve grown up. I lost my first tooth on the playground when I was five, had my first ever broken bone (my finger in the school bathroom door) when I was nine, and had my first crush. (He was a male exchange student that visited my school from France when I was twelve.)

It was within these walls that I learned my multiplication tables, which excuses will get me out of PE, how the only good thing about going to after-school care was getting to play games on the computer, how to count to ten in French, German, Japanese, and Chinese, and that the best way to make a best friend is to room with them on a school trip.

It’s here that I’ve made friends and lost friends. It’s this place that is to blame for the fact that I have basically no ability to flirt well (that’s what all-girls’ schools give you), the fact that I can sing pretty much any Christian hymn by heart, and the fact that I just don’t know what I’ll do with my life now that I won’t have any homework, assignments, or a compulsion to ask to go to the bathroom anymore.

My time at school has been wrought with both good and bad memories.  I won’t miss the homework, the assemblies, the detentions received for shoes that aren’t perfectly polished.

I will, however, miss watching the assistant principal running in heels, chasing after the boys from the local private boys’ school, during their their yearly naked runs through the grounds of our school.

I will miss that moment of camaraderie between everyone in the grade when it’s suggested we do something really lame to “group bond” and we all groan in unison. I will miss the teachers, my friends, and knowing my routine won’t change — although it’s boring, there’s stability in that; knowing exactly what you’ll do every day.

Graduating. It’s scary stuff. Part of me just wants to rewind time, back to when I was five years old and just starting school for the very first time. But then, I come to my senses — I don’t want to relive it — it’s not something that I very much enjoyed the first go round.

I’m a little scared, leaving high school, and don’t know what I’m going to do for the next three months until university starts (except for watch TV, work, spend a lot of time with friends, and if my mother has any say in the matter, clean the house). It’s weird having everything you’ve ever known, for the past thirteen years, stripped away with one piece of paper.

I’d be lying if I said that part of me doesn’t want to hide in my locker and refuse to leave. The other part of me, the majority of me in fact, knows that it’s time to move on, to grow up, to test myself outside of the bubble of my (somewhat pretentious) school.

Growing up is inevitable; it’s something that happens whether we like it or not, whether we think we’re ready or not and whether we want to or not. It’s something that is not in our control; we can only control the way we react to it.

I very nearly started crying during my speech at the assembly, at the sadness of leaving something which has been such a heavy influence within my life. But I didn’t, partially because my crying face is ugly and the 400 people in the auditorium didn’t need to see that. Mostly though? Because, although the idea of leaving here is hard, the idea of university, more traveling and the freedom that comes with graduation makes it all worthwhile.

It’s been a long and hard journey, and that journey has finally come to it’s conclusion. Sometimes I have doubts that I’m ready to move on, but I know that deep deep deep down, I am.

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