by Apurva Mahajan
Four years ago today, I didn’t think I would be alive to see the day I graduated high school. In August before I entered freshman year, I tried to make sure of that. Now as June 1, 2022 gradually approaches, it doesn’t seem real. I’m about to reach the point in my life where I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. But if you were to put me in front of my freshman year self, I don’t think I’d recognize myself. At the same time, though, I somehow still feel like the same impatient, moody child I was back then. My high school experience has been extremely sporadic, to the point where some parts of it are so blacked out in my mind that I can’t recall them. In a way, I feel like I have less of a sense of self than when I started.
There’s no doubt that I have gone through extensive character development in the past four years, but I’m not sure it has made me into a better person. I’m not a worse person by far, but I feel completely stagnant with myself. I’ve lost all sense of time, and sometimes I don’t feel like I’m a real person anymore. It’s as if I am a character in a show and I’m watching everything happening to me, and none of it is real, resetting the next day. I’m not sure how long this will last, or if it is permanent, but it gives me the freedom to change my character as much as I want. I’m going into college with the hope that I can be whatever new version of my character I desire.
I’m less than a week from graduating, and I feel like I’ve only just woken up for the first time. In the past three months, I’ve gotten close to some of the most amazing people that I’ve ever met, and I feel like for the first time I am actually able to live my life. If I had known them when I was younger, my high school years would have been more linear and I would have experienced every moment more fully.
I wish I wasn’t so jaded and cynical when I was only fourteen years old and that I would have allowed myself to share myself with other people, but I don’t regret anything that has happened to me in the last four years. I hope when I look back on the next four years I will continue to feel as many feelings as possible and meet as many interesting and thoughtful people as possible, not letting my own brain get in the way like it did in high school.