The rushed and excited murmurs of the crowd takes its toll on me as I stand unsteadily on weak legs.  In the distance I  begin to hear the graduation march, a strong breeze blows through the trees seeming to  blow the music and sense of accomplishment through my cap and gown causing goosebumps to rupture upon my skin despite the 70 degree weather of early june.

My mind wanders through the past four years, skimming over memories of the good and the bad. My eyes close and I see my  young self nervously walking through the front doors of Lincoln Academy. I can hear the loud trucks pulling out of the student parking lot at 2:30. I review flashbacks of old friends, pointless bickering, rides to voc, Friday morning assemblies, my first lunch in the dining commons, prom, and my first love.

You get out of highschool what you put into it. We’re all here doing what we are told we need to do. The stress and self discipline we place on ourselves shows the strength of who we are, while we tune out our parents when they try to give us their “best possible advice” or the “back when I was in high school” rant. Some of that information sinks through the build up in our ears and places itself in the back of our minds; stored away for when we need it.

My eyes refocus and  I can hear yelling and cheering coming from my own body. I watch intently as I see my best friend since preschool receive her diploma and graduate with honors. I can see us almost yesterday sitting together on the bus pulling a brush through tangled doll hair. I smile to myself. It all seems to go so fast.

What seemed like seconds later I find myself walking up towards the center of the baseball field — shades on — grinning like no other. I shake the hands of my teachers, my friends. I feel tears welling up inside, but I find myself strangely happy. Eagerly waiting for the next steps in life, prepared to pick up a completely new book without reading the back description, and flipping to the first page.

 My future is open: full of choices, opportunities, disappointments and decisions. Life for the class of 2014 won’t ever be the same. Time will seem to speed up as if someone is amused, playing a sick joke. The summer will be memorable; the parts that we won’t remember we will find better left forgotten. Fall will come, summer will fade and Old Man Winter will come again. Couples, who were together forever, will split apart. Friends, who had big dreams of money and backpacking the world, will find themselves settled down with children and responsibilities. People we’ve known for what seems to be our whole lives will fade from ours before they vanish completely.

As I sit here basking in the warm glow of the sun through the window, I think about what my life will be four months from now. Will I graduate? Am I going to make it through and come out with a bang? I want to remember high school as one of the best times in my life. Granted the good times are often accompanied by the bad, but high school is going to be how you remember it. It’s all about attitude, defining yourself, and figuring out what’s right for you.

Written by: Ashleigh Teele (’14)