Yesterday was my last day of school.

Yesterday was my last day of school.

I’m finding it difficult to even understand how I feel right now, because the reality hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m done. I’m finished. I have a diploma in my hand (well, figuratively, at the moment). I spent 13 years being taught everything that was considered important to know, and now it’s done.

I’m happy. I’m beyond happy, and excited and relieved. I’m also freaked out, but I suppose that’s normal.

Everything I’ve ever known has been centered on school. Always moving forward, looking ahead to the next step, the next class, the next year. And then suddenly, it’s just done. It doesn’t feel real, not in the tiniest bit. But it is. It’s summer and I never have to go back.

I’m done. I’m done! It feels so perfect to be done.

It seems like my last day of school should be conducted with a bit more fanfare, but in reality it was spent in much the same way all the other days were. Classes ran on a normal schedule; I took my communications final in my first hour, and my trigonometry final in seventh (mathematics, my lifelong enemy, getting the last laugh on my last day).  

In between, I spent my day in the middle of hugs, taking what felt like a thousand pictures and posing for a thousand more. Everyone was excited and bubbly, and the whole day was just good in the simplest way.

I sat in a classroom as the clocked ticked slowly toward 2:15. Finally, the bell struck, that long, low, monotone ring that marked an end and a beginning all at once.

I flew out of the school, laughing and hugging friends and cheering with the rest of my class. As I sat in my car and maneuvered out of the school lot for the last time, I listened the honks and shouts that surrounded me and found that I couldn’t stop smiling.

On Wednesday, I said goodbye to high school. I took some time earlier in the week to wander around the halls for a while. I tried to remember what the school looked like the first time I saw it three years ago, before all the construction. I tried to remember what I looked like, and what it felt like to be 15 years old, walking into the last public school I’d ever know.

I remember going in with a sort of grim determination. I was excited for high school because it was the last step until college. Now, upon leaving, I feel a matching sense of grim satisfaction, though grim perhaps isn’t the right word any more. Relieved, more like. Wearied. But happy, still; always.

On Wednesday I said goodbye to everything familiar and safe. I said goodbye to teachers who’d become friends. Out of every part of this day filled with mixed giddiness and a peculiar sense of anxiety, this was the most difficult.

I can’t begin to express how much the teachers at Blue Springs have come to mean to me. They are what make Blue Springs High School great, and they are what made my time there worthwhile. Thank you all, so much, for your dedication, your passion, and your guidance.

On Sunday, I will don my cap and gown, adorn myself with ceremonial cords and stoles, and receive my diploma. Maybe it’ll feel real then, when I’m holding that bit of paper with my name on it.