The Gray Area: Eyes on the End

THE+FINAL+STRETCH+--+Senior+Grayson+Catlett+points+to+the+graduation+countdown+clock.

Blake Catlett

THE FINAL STRETCH — Senior Grayson Catlett points to the graduation countdown clock.

Grayson Catlett, Columnist

At the time of writing, Central just released a proposed schedule of senior spring events, including military ball, senior day, exams, and graduation (prom is still in limbo). It is comforting to see that spring events can hopefully resume for our class, especially after the class of 2020 underwent a nightmarish scenario of multiple postponements and cancellations for highly anticipated moments.

The traditions of the end of the year are being set in place, and the class of 2021 are soon to enter the final quarter of their high school experience. We are in the last few months of a four-year journey that we will never experience again, whether we loved or despised every moment of it.

In lieu of this realization, I asked seniors about their feelings towards the end of their high school careers, what they are hoping to achieve in these final months, and what they are hoping to achieve afterwards.

While many seniors can be relieved about reaching the home stretch, some answers showed anxiety concerning college and jobs.

“Being almost done with high school is scary,” explained Senior Alex Langevin. “Not only do I have to continue to go to school just to get a decent job, but my chances of being in debt after college are really high.”

Many seniors, either uncertain, pleased, or both, are reflecting on the time spent in high school.

“I’m honestly relieved, but at the same time, I’m going to miss it,” said Senior Megan Blaise.

She elaborated on her insights in high school, chalking it up as a short-lived period that holds more entertainment than we would naturally assume.

“Throughout my high school years, I learned to just have fun and stop caring as much. Life is way too short for high school to bother you!” she concluded.

Langevin’s perception of high school, in contrast, seems both crucial and easy to forget.

“I think high school is a great place for development, not through learning but as a person. You’re going to make mistakes and you can either look at it as ‘no one will remember me anyways’ or ‘I made a mistake, I learned from it, and I know not to do that thing now.’ Make the most of your time there and record some memories because you’ll most likely forget everything,” he shared.

Despite the initial solace of finally finishing high school, the moments following can be life-altering and deeply influential, and it can be easy to eat one’s self up with doubts about the upcoming years. What is a path that ensures an enjoyable and stable life? What can one do to reach that path? Can one financially handle that path, or will it become a burden too heavy to carry? Does the maturity and professionalism of the future erase the buoyant fun of high school and college?

Very serious stuff, I know, but it is important to highlight these concerns, as well as how they can divert the joys of our current day. All these questions can distract us from the stage that we walk in two months and the seemingly insignificant paper that symbolizes the end of one era and the start of another. It can distract us from the culmination of everything that we have done in the past four years. It is all well and good to have salient worries of the future, but we have time to figure those out; think several years of our post-secondary lives opposed to the mere weeks of our remaining secondary lives. What we can do now, in moments detached from the post-secondary, is marvel at how far we have come from our awkward freshman selves, and enjoy what some of us have been excited to witness for nearly a decade.

Through all of this drastic change, it is nice to know that, despite a number of wrong answers and an increasingly polarized nation, there are no truly right answers. College, trade school, immediate occupation, and everything in between: none of these satisfy or desecrate the goal of a full life, despite what culture and authority might have us believe. Life, no matter what piece of it is being lived, is never just black and white.