Today is 10 years to the day when I graduated high school on June 14, 2004!
I remember the day semi-clearly. My whole family was in town, including my grandmother, and I had the early graduation that day at 10 AM. I sat on the right side of the seating in the Siegel Center at VCU (all high school graduations in the area are held there) and my family was in the stands beside me. They cheered when my name was called across the stage and after obligatory pictures following the ceremony, we went home to have lunch and a Cold Stone Creamery cake (obviously, since I was working there at the time)! I don’t remember much afterward, but it was a nice day and the weeks leading up to it had been a lot of fun due to all my friends’ graduation parties! It is weird I still remember what I wore to those parties?! J
High school was a hard time for me. I did very well academically and had many good friends, but I put a lot of pressure on myself. I didn’t accept anything but the best in terms of my grades and extracurriculars and that kind of pressure can have negative effects. I was so caught up in being “perfect” that I remember so clearly simply wanting to be happy. I didn’t have a career or college goal at the time except to let go of my perfectionistic personality. To show you how aware I was of my faults at this point, I even wrote in my senior year scrap book (which I still have and looked through the other week- I am so glad I made one!) that my dream job was: To do anything and live anywhere that makes me happy. That is probably a little different than your average high school goal, right?
|Humanities Senior Banquet in June 2004|
My life has only improved in the last 10 years. I went to two great colleges and met so many amazing people from undergrad and grad school and even more amazing people through my work. I cannot imagine how my life would have been had I not met all these people. They have definitely invigorated my life and helped me grow into who I am today! I am also lucky to still be friends with many people from my youth and to get to experience the highs and lows in their lives- all across the country. Friends are definitely the family you pick for yourself.
My change and growth has been gradual over time. I am still a perfectionist by nature, but I am much more relaxed about success and work. I have a good job and a stable income that enables me to do all the things I want to (for the most partJ), so I am very content and grateful (besides my usual "itch" for change). I think stability in and of itself has brought happiness to my life, because I have full control and am not relying on parents, teachers or admission offices to determine where my life will head. It is all up to me now (and the mercy of employers)! I also do not let work rule my life like school did. I still aim to do my best and do a good job, but I work so I can live my life and not the other way around. Most of my life goals now are not related to work but are more for my own personal fulfillment. This has helped me achieve balance, and I also think running and wellness/health has helped me overcome health barriers that were once struggles. I am, as always, a work in progress.
|Posing in 2002 with my Algebra 2 class|
So on this 10 year anniversary, I would say I am very glad to have high school behind me and would not trade where I am now for any other point in my life. It probably helps that I now work in high schools- I get enough of my school fix on a daily basisJ. My life keeps getting better and better, and I like it that way. No need to live in the past.