To the end of an era, the best is yet to come!
Steam rises from my hair as it falls from the burning hot curling iron. My eyes, heavy with mascara look to the clock on my nightstand.
I blink and open my eyes lost in a sea of teenagers, emotional, dressed in shining royal blue gowns blurring my vision.
A freshman lost in the halls, struggling to hold my textbooks, grades, and the overwhelming weight of multiple extracurricular activities, I constantly dreamed of the end of my senior year, the glory of graduation, and moving across the country to some glamorous college.
Seniors looked longing, wishing for the same naive enthusiasm to leave as they exchanged their textbooks for gowns, already missing the easiest part of their lives.
My older sisters, plagued by a pressing combination of senioritis and nostalgia took every opportunity to encourage me to look around and fully embrace every experience-no matter how mundane- because as they were discovering, they would all become memories.
Twenty-four classes and four years later I walk with my cap pinned tightly to my dirty-blonde hair through the empty halls of the school to the excited noise bursting from the cafeteria.
The faces I've known my whole life suddenly seem foreign as their familiar eyes swell with joy and sadness simultaneously. Parents smile and wave, knowing the next time they hug their child, everything will be different.
I look into the sea and immediately find my best friends. The smiles I've confided in call me over and suddenly I'm taken back 13 years. We aren't in the cafeteria that has seen every heart-throb and heart-ache of our spontaneous teenage years, but the assigned tables of kindergarten, our first week of public education hardly under our belts.
The boys with scruffy beards and bellowing voices are once again small and youthful, voices squeaking with laughter.
Girls with perfectly manicured nails and winged eyeliner are almost unrecognizable with the tom-boy kids I screamed with years before on the playground.
With the wave of a baton, the music begins and before my mind can agree, my feet lead me outside including me in the 476 kid procession to the world of taxes, reunions, and responsibility.
Speeches come and go, parents cry and cheer, and in a daze I throw my cap to the wind, giving the world my four years. Hovering feet above me, I smile at my childhood, high school, and the nerves I've harbored for the exciting, new world I've yet to discover in Bloomington - Normal.
Shaped by the white concrete walls and hundreds of friendships, I found myself. I write this for you, underclassmen, for the kid I once was. Look around because one day, you'll open your eyes and see your friends will change, your surroundings will change, and you, yes you will change. Cherish the stupid assignments, petty drama, and uncontrollable laughter because high school flies by faster than every ball I didn't catch in gym. Class, congrats. We did it. Although our commencements bring an end to an era, I can promise you, the best is yet to come.