Four years ago, one era of my life ended, and another began. Tomorrow, one era of my life begins, and another ends.
Time moves like a river, you can either sink or swim
Boy, has time moved. Four years ago, I was on the verge of leaving Middle School behind. I thought that it was going to be my introduction to the “real world”, entering Scarsdale High School. Never have I been so right and so wrong at the same time. So let me try and explain the past four years of my life, on the eve of my graduation.
I entered high school supremely unsure of what it would mean for me. See, in middle school I was a good student, but I was never anything special. I never worked the hardest. I never cared the most. I never scored the best or worst marks on anything (save 7th grade math, where I ended up with a 112%, don’t ask me how). I could write, but my words were, more often then not, hollow. Following three years of middling performance, I was afraid that I would soon be weeded out once faced with the rigor of high school classes.
My freshman year, I faced true rigor for the first time in my life, courtesy of my honors math teacher, Mr. Azor. From the ‘rigorous definition of congruence modulo’ to mind-bending 39 step geometry proofs, I learned to commit myself to my work as I had never done before. I started writing essays in English that I wasn’t embarrassed about. I started to take pride in my trumpet playing. I met two guys and formed a rock band, learning bass in the process. It was one hell of a year.
During finals week of my freshman year, my friend Connor introduced me to one of his friends, who shall remain nameless. She and I spent the entire summer either together, or connected via incessant text messaging. Great summer, and I’ll leave it at that. But after a month of school, things didn’t work out, so it was time to move on. That brings me to the crux of thought about graduating, and the title of tonight’s post: moving on.
We spend our entire live accruing memories, accumulating experiences that become etched in our minds, that we crave to relive. Sometimes, the past can be a great motivator. But at other times, it is an emotion burden that weighs us down. The past four years have left me with mountains of memories, but starting a new part of my life means that I can finally let go of the unproductive ones. Leave behind all of the useless emotional triggers that make my hometown like a minefield.
I’ve made some incredible friends here in Scarsdale, friends that I know I want to keep in touch with for years to come, people that I want to continue to share memories with. But moving out to Chicago and enrolling in a new school is my first chance to be selective about the baggage I carry with me. I plan on shedding the memories that I would rather forget, so that I make mental and emotional room for new ones that I hope far exceed the ones I leave behind. Moving on means compacting the vast majority of my experiences into a product: me. It means learning from success and from failure, acknowledging that the past has defined the present me, but also conceding that my future is still malleable. That moving on allows me to take a great leap forward, and accumulate four more years of life at the University of Chicago.
Finally, moving on means that the honorifics that were bestowed upon me have to be archived, to make way for far more global actions. Sure, being a National Merit Scholar, honors student, award-winning band member, and perennial lighting designer was fun, and I enjoyed the recognition and the sense of accomplishment that these titles brought me. But it’s time to move on. In this next portion of my life, I hope to have a much more global impact, and clinging to my past accomplishments would be a debilitating hindrance.
Four years later, I think it’s time to move on. I’m ready for another chapter in my life, a new era where I will shape my future more than ever. But this upcoming four years was built upon the last four years. I will never forget the impact that countless teachers and friends have had on me, as I struggled to overcome the challenges inherent in the four years of high school.