It’s my final year of high school, and it’s coming to an end rather quickly. It’s very weird to think that I’ll be graduating soon. School has been my whole life, both literally and figuratively, so it’s strange to think that this chapter of my life will be ending. I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of scared. School was my constant, my schedule, and now that’s changing. I wouldn’t say I’m the best with change, so the thought of leaving isn’t the most welcome. I don’t know what the future will look like, and although I have a plan, it’s not exactly planned out one hundred percent. I’ve been a part of the Imagine Prep student body for seven years, since August of 2014. I spent the most of my educational career at that school alone, and now I’ll be leaving it.
I have seen a lot of changes at Prep, from new uniform designs, new teachers, and new classroom layouts. A huge chunk of my current life has been spent at that school, so leaving is going to be very bittersweet for me. I look forward to the future, don’t get me wrong, but I have a lot of sentiment for that school.
It’s almost surreal, the thought of leaving. I’ve met so many amazing people during my seven-year-long experience at Prep. I’ve seen new teachers come in and old teachers leave. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve gotten excited and made new friends all in that small school building. I grew up with people from elementary school and watched them grow alongside me. This is so weird. Most people would probably be excited for graduation, and I am, but I’m also kind of dreading it. I have so many questions about what life is going to look like after I graduate, but I haven’t gotten very many answers. What is college going to be like? Will I still be friends and stay connected with the people I’m close with? What’s it really like being an adult? What’s it like having a job? Is it all as stressful and horrible as people make it out to be on social media, or am I just not seeing a part of the experience? So many questions, so little answers, and so little time. As I’m writing this, I have about a week and a half left until graduation. I’ve tried to postpone thinking about it since May started, but it seems to be an inevitable thought now. It’s getting too close to the date to avoid the topic. It almost seems like it’s all people talk about now, and that’s a little unsettling.
I feel like people make it seem like all seniors are excited for graduation. Like it’s this sickly sweet, sugar happy fantasy that people dream up after a sugar crash. I don’t think everyone is overly thrilled about graduating, to be honest. We’re leaving one of the biggest, most important aspects of our lives. We have known nothing other than school; the only time we weren’t in the school cycle was when we were too young to start going, and very few actually remember that experience. I certainly don’t, so it’s so incredibly unsettlingly weird that I’m leaving this typical cycle. Sure, there’s college, but that’s so very different from high school. There are less classes, more free time, jobs, driving, and other regular adult things that most of us don’t have experience in. Are we even prepared for this? Am I prepared for this? I’m not so sure, but it’s inevitable now.
I’m going to miss Prep. Like I said earlier, I’ve stayed at that school the longest out of every school I’ve been to, though I’ve only been to four if you include Prep. Still, the weight of it is still there. I really liked going to Prep, and one of the saddest things is that I didn’t get the chance to have a normal senior year. I stayed online the whole time, so I never had a single regular class the entirety of my senior year, as well as a quarter of my junior year. It didn’t feel like school because of it. However, I will be forever grateful for the teachers and friends that have stuck by me and supported me during this year. It has been the hardest school year of my life, and not just because it’s my last. Therefore, I cannot thank my teachers and friends enough for everything they’ve done for me this year. My teachers have been so incredibly patient and encouraging with me, and that has improved this year’s experience tenfold. I would have had a much more difficult time if I didn’t have such amazing teachers. That’s one of the best reasons I have for enjoying Prep so much: the teachers. They are all so kind and understanding, and it’s pretty easy to bond with them. They don’t just treat you like students, they treat you like equals, like real people with real emotions and feelings. That’s the kind of teacher I want to be.
Thank you, Imagine Prep, for the seven years of unexplainable experiences and happiness. Thank you for helping me figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life. Thank you for supporting me and helping me grow in the best ways possible. While this year may have been one of the worst, it’s also been one of the greatest. I have learned and grown and reflected so much this year, and I will be forever grateful. So, one last time, thank you. I look forward to coming back one day.
Goodbye for now.
– Kayleigh Barnes