Even though it was almost four years ago, I can still clearly remember my first days of high school.
To be honest, I was practically terrified of the Grade 12 students.
Movies, TV shows, and books led me to believe that the "big kids" always bullied the young, small, new kids. That being said, the older kids never bothered me and my first year of high school was pleasantly free of freshman hunts (think Dazed and Confused).
For me, the weirdest part of going into Grade 12 is knowing that I will be the "big kid" (well, maybe not that big), possibly inspiring unnecessary fear in Grade 8 students as they imagine being stuffed inside a locker along with other stereotypical bully stuff.
At every type of graduation I have had so far, family and teachers always made the event such a big deal. I remember how going from Kindergarten to Grade 1 was a big deal at the time. I was thinking: Oh no, a full day of school instead of finishing before lunch will be so difficult. However, now it seems so insignificant.
Completing Grade 12 next year will truly be a big deal, an accomplishment. The world really opens up after high school. After we graduate we will receive that freedom that all of us have always longed for. It does not matter whether we choose to pursue a post-secondary education, jump right into a job, or travel for a while, what matters is that for the first time in our lives the choice will not already be decided for us. There is a certain surrealism in knowing that a year from now I will walk across the stage; a surrealism in knowing that the choice of which way I go with my life will, for the first time, be my choice. I still do not know what my choice will be, but I have trust in myself that by the end of the next school year I will have made the right one.
For all of you going into Grade 8, if I had one suggestion it would be to make the most out of high school. After you graduate it will be so much harder to give that sports team a go or to see if you actually enjoy what they teach in that elective class.
Alessandro Lanius-Pascuzzi was a Grade 11 Rockridge secondary student when he wrote this piece for the North Shore News at the end of the school year in June. He is now heading into Grade 12.
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