For most, high school graduation is just the natural next step. Always an accomplishment, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just expected. Let me be the first to tell you, I could never have imagined it would become such an accomplishment for me. If you’d asked me four years ago if I thought I would struggle through high school I probably would’ve laughed. School always came easily for me, I was so involved and spent most of my time cheering or around something school related. Boy did that change.
It was an adjustment for me as I started spending most of my time at home, by myself. When cheer was pushed totally out of the picture, I struggled. I found myself feeling too easily replaced on the squad and at school. That was a rough time, but eventually I just had to recognize that my priorities had changed.
I’m glad I took a tough schedule freshman year and was mostly able to keep my challenging classes through sophomore year. But junior year felt like a downhill spiral. I didn’t get to attend the Career Center like I had planned for years, I had to switch my semester of College Algebra to a full year, and missed so much class time that the AP English test wasn’t really an option at the end of the year.
Learning to teach myself took some time to adjust to. If I didn’t motivate myself to do it, it just wouldn’t get done. I didn’t have a teacher looking over my shoulder telling me to work, I just had my sweet pup that would much rather me play. I’m incredibly thankful for the many many teachers that worked so willingly with me after school hours and via email. I really think being at a small school was my saving grace…well that and Mrs. Finlay.
So how did I get it done? I took many online classes with the idea that that would be easier to finish at home. Turns out, computers are TERRIBLE for migraines, so I would have to carefully manage how much time I spent staring at the screen. Many days my vision was so bad that I couldn’t read what was in front of me, thankfully on those days my mom would sit and read page after page to me. I had countless sleepless nights, so sometimes 3am was when I’d get my work done. I would be in the middle of writing a paper or testing when I would forget what I was talking about mid-sentence and not be able to finish. Everyday was an adventure in itself.
So, I pushed myself. And when I stopped, my parents and friends would keep pushing me, which I hated at times but am so thankful for now. I would plan a schedule and then it would change 40 times because my first goal just wasn’t realistic. A daily battle no doubt.
Thank God for Mrs. Finlay. It’s not an over-exaggeration when I say I wouldn’t have made it to that stage without her. Time after time she had my back and went the extra mile. Spending hours with me after school or on the weekends, it truly didn’t hit me just how much she impacted me until I got to graduation. Hallsville is lucky to have her.
Walking that stage. So many emotions I can’t even express. Part of me felt like walking across that stage was my way of sticking it to all the ridiculous people that wasted their breath on trying to put me down. Part of me felt a great sense of accomplishment when Coach Heet announced where I was going to college, since so many people hadn’t bothered to even ask, instead assuming I wasn’t going. I felt the hugest amount of relief when Jon got to hand me that diploma and hug me. Walking toward my second dad on that stage, knowing he was just as proud of me as my own dad, that’s when I really really lost it for the first time. When I sat back in my seat and looked up at my family; parents, brothers, two sets of great grandparents, two sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and Bequettes, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness for those amazing people. I know God knew I’d make it, but only with each of them there always.❤️
I surprised myself though, after I sorted through all the craziness, that what I was feeling most of all, was pride. I’m incredibly proud of myself. I did it. It puts everything into perspective most definitely. It makes everything worth it, I think. Crazy enough, in some ways I’m going into “the real world” with more experiences under my belt. I won’t have loads of amazing high school stories to tell my kids someday, which is hard, but I still got an awesome prom, two years of varsity cheer, 1st in our freshman year skit, and made it out keeping my A+ scholarship. But really that’s just surface level stuff, and on top of all that I’ve experienced the real, raw, imperfect world. In the last 3 years I’ve been exposed to more diversity as I’ve traveled, grown stronger in my relationships, truer in my faith, learned about myself, and became quite a good self advocate. So I can see my silver linings. And I completely believe that God won’t give me more than I can handle. I see it sometimes, just when my cup’s about to flow over, something lightens up just enough.
So, I’m moving on to the next chapter of my life. And the battle continues, but everyone’s does. Which is extremely cliché but I’m actually beyond ready to do so. I’m Hallsville alumni now😉 I DID IT!!!!!