Graduation day incites anxiety, nostalgia


Zoe Delis, co-a&e editor

Blue and gold caps and gowns. Long and sophisticated speeches from South’s best and brightest. Parents pointing the camera at you as you witness grandpa dozing off. You wait for Dr. Fagel to echo your name. It’s time. Graduation has finally arrived.

In just a few weeks, more than 700 high school seniors at South, including myself, will have our long-anticipated graduation ceremony. The early school meetings, sports practices and jam-packed schedules will soon come to an end. Some of us will head off to our dream colleges, others will work and a few will join the military. Regardless of our plans, graduation is a major milestone in our lives.

Graduation has always seemed liberating to me, a sign of independence from the confines of high school and the rules that come along with it. The vision of throwing up caps in the air, realizing the days of school bells and phone cubbies would be over was a recurring vision in my head. I can’t say I remember the first day of freshman year hour by hour, but I can remember my first soccer tryouts and when a school blackout canceled my history final.

And then my sophomore year, I remember getting my first story published in The Oracle and the fire alarm going off in the middle of my Spanish test.

My junior year was cut short due to the pandemic, but I still recall the first day I drove my own car to school and when I cheered on my friends on the football field at the homecoming game.

Finally, although my senior year looked different to others, I made the most of it, still having a field hockey season and getting to pick out my dress for prom.

Now, as the big day approaches, my thoughts on graduation have somewhat shifted. Suddenly, the freedom that I had dreamed and yearned for has faded. Instead, a hint of fear fills my mind as I consider graduation day, as I consider the next stage of my life to come: college.

We spend four years of our lives wishing to escape the confines of the classroom, but as the end draws near, it becomes a little more scary. There is a future in which all or nothing is possible, and we are in charge of deciding what kind of future we want.

For the last few weeks, I have looked in disbelief at the person staring back at me in the mirror; it is still hard for me to comprehend that I am a senior. I remember looking into the same mirror every first day of school and watching myself grow.

Even though I may not have lived my high school years exactly as I had pictured in elementary school (of course, everything I knew then came from High School Musical) but nonetheless, I lived through it.

I may be saying goodbye to my childhood filled with routine and monotony, but I am saying hello to college and adulthood. The freedom and independence I used to yearn for is both scary and thrilling because of its uncertainty, but it also ushers in a whole new set of experiences.

I am still not sure I am ready to step out into the world alone, but I know I will give it my all. Graduation is a day of beginnings and endings all at the same time, and any way you look at it, it is a day to remember for the rest of our lives.