Exams have wrapped up, classes have finished and, for those of us that are done with high school, we’re now waiting on marks to be released- marks that are meant to define the rest of our lives or, at the very least, the next year of it.
Everyone is saying to enjoy this time, that it’s one of the only times in our life where we won’t have any real pressure on us. No mortgages, or electricity bills. No kids or a marriage. No exams or assessments. We’re in a limbo- waiting for uni to start, or to land a full time job, or for the day we can fly out on our gap year. We might be enrolled in a TAFE course or have an apprenticeship lined up, but everything is happening soon, not right now.
Right now, we’re sleeping in and staying up late. We’re binge watching whatever new Netflix series is released as soon as we can because we don’t have the stress of studying for upcoming exams. We’re picking up extra shifts at work so we can put away money to fund flights and nights out and textbooks. We’re going to the beach, eating out for lunch and planning road trips. We’re drinking with our mates and snoozing in bed when the rest of our family is getting ready for work or school.
It sounds great but the thing is…I don’t want to say goodbye to high school.
Yeah, it’s good to wave goodbye to the exams and assignments. To be able to spend time in the afternoon doing whatever we want without stressing about studying. To not have to constantly worry about whether we’ve started an assignment or got a good essay mark. It’s great not having to wake up to an alarm early every morning, put on a shitty school uniform and sit through classes that we don’t care about in the first place. To be able to nap whenever we want and not worry about throwing out our sleep schedule.
But, I don’t want to say goodbye to my friends- the ones who will inevitably drift away despite the years we spent together. I don’t want to say goodbye to my favourite teachers who would spend lunch times in the staffroom chatting about everything and who would genuinely ask if I was okay. I don’t want to say goodbye to knowing what I’m doing every day, to the structure and routine that comes with having a set timetable and bell times five days of the week.
I don’t want to say goodbye to the best parts of high school: to walking home or catching the bus with your best mates or getting slushees on hot days and begging your parents for a lift when it was raining. To laughing fits in the middle of Science when you can’t stop yourself laughing at something stupid your friend said, even though your teacher is threatening to give you detention. To canteen trips for chocolate milks and hot chips and sliding into ‘your’ seat in every classroom.
Saying goodbye to high school comes with a lot of good things. It opens up the big wide world and all the opportunity that comes with it. But it’s also terrifying. Suddenly, things aren’t mapped out. No one is forcing you to keep studying or make something of yourself. No one is there to push and prod you along the right path, right now it’s all on you.