Countdown to Graduation Day 1: One More Wait

Morgan Elmslie, Senior Copy Editor

If someone more mathematically inclined than I multiplied and added all of the hours we’ve dedicated to school since, well, the womb, and subtracted all those convenient flu days (AKA early spring break vacations), they’d come up with many, many hours. But (finally) it’s here; all those hours have led to a painful, almost dreadful, few more hours. Gee, the joy never ends.

You sit in a cap and gown with hundreds of others, which, between us, resembles an ocean we all kinda, sorta, really want to drown in while the morning unfolds in slow-motion. Oh, not to mention, every mom and dad in the audience cries and whistles in high-pitch tones, ensuring their praise echoes in your embarrassed eardrums for the next millennium. Well, only for the rest of graduation, which, quite frankly feels like the trip to Mars.

But, hey, this is the light at the end of the tunnel; all of your late night Quizlet cramming and stress driven SparkNotes reading has yielded some success…I mean, you are graduating…so…congrats? Anyway, you did it. Yippee. The approaching chapter of your life is full of the quadratic formula and SOAPSTone, so it’s essential you have soaked in all methods of foiling and rhetorical analysis up until now. Not to mention, while you wait for an administrator to butcher (or, mispronounce, in kinder terms) your name, you’re expected to use your leisure time to write a DBQ and prep for a verbal quiz — wait, I’ve just been informed you can leave that stage of your life in Vargas’s class. Thank God.

Instead, your leisure time, which passes slower than those three hour block scheduling days you’ll definitely miss, consists of an overwhelming conflict between past and future, all while you block out the emotional present. Next time you walk the freshly painted and well preserved walls of Palmetto, it’ll be as an alumni. Feeling emotional yet? If not, you have about eight more hours to let the tears start coming…and pray your waterproof mascara doesn’t give out before your 0.8 seconds of fame as you walk across that stage. Either way, the lighting is awful and your mom probably zoomed in until the point of unpostable pixelation that’ll never see your Insta feed as long as you live. No filter can salvage it. Don’t even try.

While you listen to some seemingly important member of the school system ramble on about the honor of graduation, you’ll feel a tinge of guilt for all those moments your eyes wandered a little beyond the realms of your own paper and onto the smarter kid’s Scantron. And perhaps, you weren’t even sure if he or she was even all that smart, all you knew is you didn’t read and you were completely and totally f…inally you tuned out the man on stage long enough to settle back into your mid-graduation rollercoaster of a day zone; while scanning the sea of caps and gowns, the familiar and unfamiliar make their way into your view and for a split second you remember that girl cutting you in line in the bathroom, and that guy who felt the need to throw chocolate milk during lunch and suddenly you can’t wait to get the heck out. But then far across the seated section, you meet the eyes of your life long friend who, through your nights of complete and total idiocy, talked you through a stress induced break down and in that moment, tears fill your eyes and lumps fill your throat and the gravity of your accomplishment begins to settle: graduation. And as you continue to search the masses, you’ll come across that teacher who didn’t bump you from a 1.2 to a 3.5 and for a minute you’ll feel angered. It’s okay. They have to stay at Palmetto; you, you can run far and wild now and leave their maliciousness behind as you embrace a whole new world, full of people who’d bump you from a C to an A. The outside world is truly magical.

All these revelations…and Valedictorian still hasn’t been announced. So you keep thinking. Maybe you examine the individuals earning magna cum laude and summa cum laude and shame yourself for not studying a tiny bit harder and sliding your way into the top of the class. Or maybe, you are graduating at the top of your class and in that case, kudos and I hate you. Your family screams your name from the stands, hoping to attract your attention long enough for the pixelated photo that’ll end up as grandma’s lock screen (as soon as she figures out how to do it) for the next six or so months. Do not panic, just assume innocence. Maybe use your gown as a tissue and blotch your eyes for a minute to convince the fans your emotions have set you over the edge, and therefore, you’re in need of intensive catering.

If you’re really running out of things to keep you preoccupied while your butt falls asleep on the hard plastic foldables, you can draft a thank you letter to your teachers and parents for helping you get this far. Actually, scratch that. At this point, just leave a 5 star review on Yelp for Slader. They deserve it. They’ve been with you through it all. Luckily there’s no turnitin.com for math homework!

Oh, shhh! They’re about to really start. While you sit up straighter and perfect your hair, a smile, big or small should be crawling onto your face right about now. You did it. Congratulations, soon-to-be graduate. The future is yours.

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