So glad to be gone

I’m not going to pretend that high school was the best time of my life, or that I am going to miss it after I graduate. I also don’t want to make it seem like it was the worst thing that has ever happened to me, either. It’s almost over, and I am so glad. I am thankful for all of the lessons I learned and friends I made along the way, but I am ready to close this chapter of my life and start something new, exciting, and different: college.

I plan to attend the University of Nebraska at Omaha and major in elementary education with a dual endorsement in teaching deaf and hard of hearing students. I will be completely independent for the first time in my life, and I’m ready for the challenge.

Starting college, I feel the same way I did when I was starting high school. I am nervous because I don’t know many people going to my school, but I am excited to get a new start and have more freedom—freedom to choose what I do, freedom to choose my own classes, freedom to choose who I hang out with, and freedom to be myself.

As I’m wrapping up my senior year, I think some thank-yous are in order.

I would like to thank all of the teachers who helped me along the way, and made me want to become a teacher. You know who you are. Thank you for teaching me so many lessons, academically and about life. Thank you for always listening to me, supporting me, and being my friends. I am becoming a teacher so I can help other kids like you have helped me. You have been the best part of my high school career.

Thank you to the friends, no matter how few, who stuck with me through all four years of high school. Thank you for being there for me during the good times and giving me a shoulder to cry on through the bad.

Thank you to the journalism department for challenging me, giving me leadership and planning skills, and teaching me to always assume positive intentions. Room 1403 has felt like a second home over the last four years, even during that semester sophomore year.

I also want to acknowledge some aspects of my education that made high school difficult.

Inconsistency. Having four different bell schedules throughout high school made it difficult to acclimate to coming to school. The three and a half different grading scales did not help either. Having to relearn how my grades worked every year, and learning that each new scale made it easier to get good grades, actually discouraged my learning. I learned how to do the bare minimum to get an A (or a 4) instead of learning the subjects and concepts I was actually supposed to be learning.

Intolerance. Especially over the last year, I have never experienced such hate directed toward me for not only my opinions, but for who I am as a person. There is an environment of prejudice that exists in this school, and in this town, and when I tried to create an organization to combat this, I received more hate and rumors than the rest of my life combined. The people who did these things, have no compassion or empathy for people who are different than them, and the people who pretend to care are just as bad as the others. I am glad I am not like these people, and that I can go into college with an open mind, because I know many people who will have trouble adjusting to a more diverse campus because of their chosen prejudices.

I am thankful for my entire high school experience, even though not all of it was positive, because it helped me grow as a person. I learned how to enjoy the good times, and how to handle the bad times.