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Graduation, a time of farewell

Norah Springborn/YJI

Pekin, Illinois, U.S.A. – I realized that I’d become afraid of goodbyes when I began to be apathetic.

During my first day of preschool, I cried because I did not want to leave my best friends who were my parents. I have always felt a deep sting in my throat after the last class knowing that I would never have my favorite teachers again.

Watching my high school role models graduate left me unguided.

I became so caught up in what happened next that I forgot to indulge in the moments of farewell.

In a world where you’re expected to ride on without looking back, we must learn to acknowledge that it is okay to falter at saying goodbye. 

Now, it’s my time to be the one to move on. 

But I’m not alone. As each day of school brought me closer to graduation, our season of goodbyes grew near.

I witnessed countless people in my graduating class cry at every little moment of farewell. The tears became a scapegoat for the fear of the future. 

Up into this point in your life, you’ve lived on a schedule — go to school, do homework, sleep, repeat.

Now, society expects us to jump out of this rigid schedule in order to enter the world of “adulting.”

How can one simply move on and adjust so fast?

It is difficult to say goodbye to activities that brought you joy. My senior year of high school has become a story of the endings: the last first day of school, the last band concert, the last homecoming and prom, the last speech tournament, and the last day of school with the people you’ve endured four years with.

Some moments you aren’t ready to let go yet. 

There is a difference between dreaming of what happens next and then actually living through it.

Since pre-school, we have all drawn the pictures of what we want to be when we grow up. Now, we don’t have to draw a picture — we are the illustration of reality. 

As someone who is taking her final walks through my high school, final greetings to teachers, and final partings with friends I’ve grown up with, after all, you have to move on.

With so much uncertainty about the future and the societal perception of having your whole life planned out, stepping out of your cognitive norm to a reality of change is frightening.

I’ve learned to be grateful for this moment in time with these people surrounding me. The pages of memories will live on, but for now, it is vital to enjoy the present. 

It’s time to say goodbye.

Norah Springborn is a Correspondent with Youth Journalism International.

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