Today was Jessica’s last, first day of school. It’s always different for a senior during their last year of high school. It’s the beginning of the end, but also an end of the beginning. It’s a celebration, yet a mourning, and both emotions run a parallel course.
Most seniors. whether high school or even golden age seniors, inherently seem to make more effort to savor the time. A sentimental process of looking back and remembering starts.
At the same time, seniors usually seek out more opportunities to make more meaningful memories with their friends because the looming reality is that it is all about to change.
It’s strange. I’ve noticed that even kids who don’t like each other tend to unite during their last year of high school. Maybe it’s because they share a bond of we’ve done this together and belong together. We belong to this school. We belong to this year. We belong to this graduating class. We, we as a group, we have walked a path together, even if on different trails, and we will end this journey together as a group, so we will enjoy each other on the path because after this year, it is no more.
In a way, that makes it one of the easiest times in life to create a sense of community with shared experiences, purpose and meaning. The school colors, letter jackets, pep rallies and laughter in the halls ushers the senior class from the practice field, through the tunnel, and onto the game field of life.
From now until May, each passing day flips the calendar closer to more opportunities and challenges. But those opportunities, those challenges will be different. Things will change.
And maybe, that’s the one thing high school seniors realize more poignantly, and in some cases, for the first time ever — things change.
Life will look different next year. Life goes on, but it will change. And as life grows and evolves, perspectives, depth of meaning, and even values will grow and mature.
It’s neither bad nor good. It just changes.
Letter jackets will be put in the closet, slowly make their way to the back, and eventually packed away in the attic or filling up a landfill. It’s just, change.
Today across the state seniors start school. Each walks on their I.S.D.’s linoleum covered hallways and soon, very soon, will start walking on their own individual cobblestone pathway.
But that’s in May. Today, today is the last first day of school, the beginning of the end, the end of the beginning, so smile. Remember where you’ve been. Have fun. Laugh. Look for opportunities. Make more memories with those who journey beside you.
Soon, it will all change.