I'm Not Gonna Cry
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I'm Not Gonna Cry

an ode to graduation, and to the rest of our lives

I'm Not Gonna Cry
Laura Countiss

What do hallways, group messages, and stop lights all have in common?

They all have allowed me to slow down from the preposterous day to day cycle I have been living in for the past year, and simply reflect. Friday I nostalgically encountered my last full day as a high school student, I had no idea what emotion to feel so, per usual, I felt all of them. Walking my everyday path through the hallways to the parking lot to leave at 11:30 one of my best friends Jillian, who has been with me since our first day of kindergarten, looked at me and said, “you realize this is the last time we will ever make this walk as students.” Her statement shook me to the core and filled me with anxiety, I stopped in my tracks and didn't know whether to be relieved, saddened, or terrified. So, to avoid feeling anything at all we took a snapchat together to mark this affair and stage that we had been frowning for our entire walk.

As I made it through the rest of the day my phone was erupting with the most incessant group message ever made, courtesy of my best friends. They too had been stunned by the fact that we had completed possibly the most confusing, overwhelming, but so beautifully exciting four years of our lives. I didn’t even bother to turn the sound off to alleviate my ears from the constant text alerts, I let them serve as a symphony to my ears as we tried to soak up the moment.

I continued on with my day and drove through the streets of my charming little hometown and took in my surroundings in a different way than ever before. This sleepy little town has shaped me and as I sat at the stoplight on my trek through town, I wasn’t rushing the light to turn green, I was reflecting on how fortunate I am to be exactly where I am today. Given any of the situations I had encountered in the past eighteen years hadn't happened, I might not be the same, even an incredibly long stoplight.

The day I cross the stage in my obnoxiously bright colored green cap and gown will be a momentous one indeed, fore I have awaited it for so long. However, as the day is reigning in at an alarming rate, I’m not sure I’m ready.

I have selected where I will be attending college next year, confirmed my housing and roommate, and even registered for my classes, but something is still missing. I haven’t allowed myself to slow down for even a second to reflect on the chapter of my life that is now coming to a close.

I had my last first day of school, waking up way earlier than any other day of the year to put on my new outfit, do my hair, be served breakfast from my parents, and in a frenzy as I am running late take my annual picture by the front door.

I had my last Friday night football game, cheering on my friends from the student section, and doing what I love best, harassing Western Alamance.

I had my last homecoming, being escorted by my dad across the football field as he whispered in my ear how important this moment was for him as well.

I had my last prom, the struggle to find the “perfect” dress, spend hours doing my hair and makeup, taking hundreds of pictures from every angle, and having the time of my life with my best friends.

I had my last project to spend hours stressing over, to find that my hard work paid off in the end and I made an A.

I had my last club meeting to wake up early for, and still somehow be late to.

I had my last day joking with my weightlifting teachers over how I may in fact be the laziest student they have ever had.

I had my last day creating incredible memories in the same environment as the people I have grown up with for the past thirteen school years.

I faced far too many “lasts” this year to be able to reflect on every single one of them in the moment they occurred. However, my wish is to embrace all of them as I prepare myself for so many “firsts” I have ahead of me.

I couldn’t have gotten this far without the love and support I have so graciously received from my parents, my siblings, my best friends, my peers, and my community. So, to every single person that has been a component in my growth, I cannot thank you enough. I wouldn’t trade a single memory for the world.

To the Class of 2017, I as well as anyone understand that it seems as if time has been flying by right in front of us. However, even though you are so ready to go, I challenge you all to step back, slow down, and reflect as well. I am sure that college will be incredible, but we will never be exactly the same people we are today, embrace it.

Love, Graduate Laura Countiss

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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