Wednesday, February 27, 2013

They Are So Done

     I have watched my seniors over the past few days become ornery, cranky, and sassy.  Their senoritis has reached a new higher level.  Most of them have been accepted to their colleges and they just want to go ahead and be college students RIGHT NOW. They have one last nine weeks to put in and they feel like they would rather stick forks in their eyes.  I wish I could make them stop.  Not just because it would make my life more pleasant, but because I was just like them in 1987.  Not savoring my last weeks of high school is one of my biggest regrets, and I wish that I could protect my students from that.  In class tomorrow, I am going to have them write about what they will miss about high school, and it made me think about what I did not realize I would miss when I left behind my childhood home for the masses at the University of Florida.

     I missed having a teacher care if I succeeded or not.  For my first two years of college I was a social security number on a scantron or a "young lady in the pink shirt." No professor cared whether I showed up to class to answer questions (if they were even asked) and no professor cared if I failed the course or not.  On some level I enjoyed anonymity, but back then I performed better if I was held accountable by someone who knew my first name and by someone who knew to "conviently" run into my mama at the grocery store.

     I missed seeing my very best friend every day.  Several times a day. The phone and a weekend visits were not the same as laughing together in English, laughing together in government, and getting yelled at for laughing together in band.  In college, you do not walk into a classroom and slide into the desk next to your best friend.  Instead, you scan the 600 person auditorium and curse yourself for not bringing a book to read like everyone else trying to avoid eye contact.

    I missed dancing four nights a week at the dance studio where I took lessons since I was four years old.  Almost every night, ballet, jazz, tap.  Goofing around the barre with girls who did not go to my school, but who I knew more intimately than most of my classmates.  Most of my nights  freshman year were spent studying or awkwardly getting to know my sorority sisters who would eventually become a family of sorts.

     I missed having drawers full of clean clothes and a refrigerator full of food, drinks, and snacks.  I usually found myself wearing ratty sweatpants up to the public laundry room to watch my one load tumble through the dryer because you learn very quickly to not leave your laundry unattended.  People are gross.  That is all you need to know about that.  And, I cannot tell you how many times I counted pennies out of my car ashtray to scrap together a $1.29 that would buy me a two liter of Diet Coke and five packages of Ramen Noodles from the Suwanee Swifty.  A feast for a two and half days!

     I missed going to the beach whenever I wanted.  Drive my car down the beach during lunch.  Pop down right after school for a quick swim.  Read for hours sitting in the waterline.  Smell the ocean from my house.  Hear the waves from the second story at school.  At UF I had to either drive an hour to Crescent City or two hours home to enjoy the beach.  When something is always there, you don't realize how much a part of you it becomes until it is no longer there.

     By far, college was the most fun I ever had.  I learned a lot about myself and my academics went far beyond the classroom.  And, of course, college is where I met the love of my life.  By no means do I really want to go back and do high school all over again, or make time stop when I was seventeen (kissed a lot of frogs that never became princes), but I do wish that I had appreciated all of those little things a little more.  Instead of being hell bent on getting out of Daytona and kicking all of the sand out of my shoes I would have enjoyed my last weeks just a bit more. I would have laughed a a little longer, listened to my first name more carefully, and hugged my parents more fiercely.

     The future is coming.  There is no stopping it.  Please don't wish away the present.

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