As I count down the days until June 15, so many emotions creep up on me—excitement, fear, nervousness. June 15 is my graduation day, graduation from high school and I absolutely cannot wait. But I also can’t help but be scared of what’s to come, what’s to happen after I receive that diploma and transfer that tassel to the other side.
Every day for 13 years my dad has driven me to school. And almost every day he reminded me how many years I had left. It seemed like just yesterday I had four years left to finish. But the other day when we drove to school and my dad said, “A few more days, honey, a few more days”, I realized that this is real—I’m leaving this chapter of my life and moving onto the next.
In a couple of days I will walk out of school no longer as a school girl, but as a woman, my backpack filled with things you couldn’t even imagine. Not just filled with pounds and pounds of books, or years worth of memorizing poems and lessons, but full of memories that can never be forgotten, life lessons that taught me to be who I am today, and real friends that could never be replaced. So I pack it all up and prepare for my new chapter—college and adulting—as they say.
What am I to expect? So many people have given me advice and comments on what their chapter looked like, but everyone’s is different and I can’t know exactly what to expect. But I do know a few things. When I race off to college as the happiest girl in the world, exuberant and independent, thinking I’m prepared for anything that comes my way, I can’t help but question if I’m truly prepared. Was 13 years enough? I know that I still have a lot to learn and experience, and for that reason, I’m terrified. I know my parents won’t be there to remind me about the little things, or even the big ones. They won’t be there to scold me when needed, or tell me to organize my life or even my room. I have to steer myself this time. I can’t rely on people reminding me to focus. My teachers that I formed great relationships with over all those years will no longer be there for me to go to for help or advice on a daily basis. I have to tackle this new life on my own. I’ll even have to make new friends that are real and true.
This won’t only be difficult because of the different sin values and morals, but it will be especially difficult because the friends that I have grown up with all these years are really outstanding individuals. We have been through everything together including the inspiring transition from little girls to young catholic women. I had the privilege to be a part of that conversion and I thank God for that and hope that I can find just as great of friends in college. But the toughest thing that I will have to maintain besides virtuous friendships is my faith.
My catholic faith is my roots. It is what is allowing me to grow into the independent, devoted, and empowered woman I aspire to be. It is what has allowed me to prosper and dedicate myself whole-heartedly to my school life and spiritual life. Without my faith I wouldn’t be capable of any greatness. I wouldn’t be able to attain the extraordinary. I wouldn’t be capable of true love, true charity. It’s what keeps me grounded in everything I do. And when I leave my catholic school and my catholic environment I can’t help but be petrified that I may be leaving a part of my faith.
I feel ready and strong enough to take on the world, but there’s still a doubt, an uncertainty. I will be surrounded by a completely different environment. In my high school everyone had the same goal; we were all learning and chasing after the same truth. In college there will be hundreds of “truths” and every one will try to involve me. I might be distracted more often from what should be the priority in my life, my faith. Yes, I am scared but does that necessarily mean I am not ready? Of course no one is ever ready for everything that’s going to happen after high school, but you can be prepared by realizing that you will have to defend your faith; you will have to sacrifice and avoid temptations that will come more often.
I’m quickly realizing that I can’t doubt whether I’m ready or not for this new chapter, these new college experiences, I must be ready! I can’t hesitate in the least, or else I will be categorized with the weak. I must be determined to stay balanced and organized with my morals and faith. If I keep this resolution there’s no reason for me to doubt. If I truly believe that I can do it then is there really any reason for me to doubt that I will successfully finish college with an even stronger independence and virtue while also accomplishing my dreams?
I now realize that my senior quote is the best quote I could have chosen. It is attributed to the powerful woman figure, St. Joan of Arc: “I am not afraid because God is with me. I was born for this!” We were all born for greatness! Each and every one of us. We were created to fulfill our destiny. And most of those accomplishments are achieved after we leave our high school years behind. That time in our lives will determine whether or not we are capable of that greatness that we were specifically born to accomplish. So you cannot doubt, otherwise you will fail very shortly after that cap is thrown into the air. You have to persevere and act accordingly to what you believe you can do. You can change the world in just those four years at a university. But you can also change yourself, which is the daunting truth we all face.
This is why determination and balance is the key to not being attracted by the evil that will surround you. You were born to accomplish great things! Don’t steer away from what you are meant to do. Don’t fear what’s to come just because there’s a doubt. Push aside any hesitancy and focus on what is important, which is executing your beliefs in a confident way, enabling you to draw in those who have already or who are close to sinking.
So I am more than ready. I am more than ready to fail, knowing that I’ll get back up. I am more than ready to chase after my dreams, knowing that I will be living virtuously while I do so. I am more than ready to communicate with new people every day, knowing that I will inspire them and portray to them the best version of myself. I am more than ready to change the world after I graduate, knowing that I was born to do just that.