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Early Graduation Was Almost Not Worth It


Me and my boyfriend after my graduation ceremony.

There was no way I was going to make it through another year at this school. There was no way in hell that I could handle being herded into class rooms along with the other sheep. Sitting in hard plastic desks struggling to stay awake and fighting the endless daydreams in order to get work done that I didn't care about and knew I would never do again after school had ended. I'll never need to calculate a hypotenuse or annotate a text again. I couldn't handle another year of eating the flavorless food that almost seems to purposely make students irritable and lethargic. I couldn't handle any more budget cuts to my art and cooking classes. I couldn't handle reading The Catcher in the Rye again. I couldn't handle a third principal coming in and disrupting what I had become accustomed to for the third time. In fact I am not the only student who feels this way. Since I've been in high school there have been countless protests and 2 walk outs, one of which happened just last week because to us, nobody seems to care about us and what we need when it comes to our education. 

Now I don't know what kind of high school you may have gone to. A respectable high class financially stable one or a crappy inner city government funded train-wreck on the verge of being shut down. For me it was the ladder. Now I don't wanna say all public schools are bad but mine was. Then again, any school where they don't care about you is bad. I'm not saying the teachers and faculty didn't care about us but the superintendent and school bored didn't see us as anything other than walking paychecks. Everywhere you looked your favorite teachers were getting fired due to budget cuts or classes you loved ceased to exist. Security guards were actively seeking out students to get in trouble due to fear of loosing there jobs. Principals only lasted 1-2 years. Teachers received less and less supplies forcing students and parents to pick up the slack in having to provide the simplest things such as paper for our assignments. Text books were falling apart. The entire thing was a wreck.

I could have easily dropped out, like my mother and my father and my grandparents, like my aunt and uncle and so many in my family before me. But for me it was never an option. Quitting was never an option. I knew that going to my counselor was going to get me no where. Instead I spoke to my credit recovery teacher whom was good friends with one of my vice principals about taking extra credits online and graduate early. There were a lot of boring steps and meetings and phone calls involved with graduating early. I had to convince lots of people I could do it because I've never been good at school. I've always gotten by on the bare minimum I could manage, not because I couldn't do the work but instead because I couldn't be bothered. Nonetheless, I got by. I could have just as easily become a straight A honors student who participated in after school activities. Yet there seemed to be so many things I could do to make better use of my time than my homework. I never excelled in honors classes, for some reason being held to a higher standard than everyone else with twice the homework and pressure yet a very little academic challenge compared to basic classes never suited me. Instead I succeeded most when I was left alone to teach myself the material, which is how I accumulated the credits so fast to graduate. I took many online courses, but for me that was the easiest part of this whole thing.

The hardest part of early graduation doesn't happen inside the walls of the school. It happens inside the four walls of your bedroom. You do things you thought you'd never do, like buy blackout curtains so that you can sleep in the day on the weekends because between online and physical class work there aren't enough hours in the day to sleep on the weekdays. You still get sleep, just not real sleep, not the kind where you can let yourself drift off the the land of milk and honey, but the harsh kind of sleep that never seems to last long enough because you didn't even get to fully sleep fall asleep and your alarm is already blaring through the speakers of your phone. You do things like yell at your friends because them trying to be social with you is interfering with your class work. You quit your job because for now it's more important to have time than money or shampoo or deodorant or toothpaste. Breakfast becomes cold pizza or a snickers bar at 4am because you know it's going to nourish you better than the school food, and you can just forget about dinner. After school clubs become a daydream. You can also forget about having senior pictures, or a senior quote, or being in the senior class photo, or senior sunrise or anything really because while you're working twice as hard as any student, you're not really a senior. It almost seems like the school stops seeing you as a human being. Now I was definitely not the only student graduating early but I was by far the most difficult for the school to deal with, since my mom raised me not to lay down for injustice but to fight for what you believe in. However the school couldn't help but spit in my eyes every chance they got. The last chance they got they took. Now we didn't get our diplomas on the stage due to poor organisation of the school. We got them back stage after the ceremonies. I got in the line I was supposed to and the woman flipped through the files once, then twice, then a third time. Finally she looked at me and told me they didn't have my diploma and it would come in the mail in 2-3 days. I turned around and Martha (another early graduate) was fawning over her diploma with her parents. I asked her if the other early graduates got their diplomas. She nodded. Tears welled up in my eyes, this was the school's last attempt to hurt me, then to rub salt in the wound I didn't get my diploma until almost 3 months later.

One thing you need to remember when you're trying really hard for something like this, is that most people are going to be very skeptical that you will succeed. But it should never affect you. You're not doing this for anyone but yourself. If I could take it all back there's no way I would even consider it, while it was hard and taxing and full of sacrifices iId never change what I did. I would never go back and do it the traditional way because life is not about tradition life is about you, and this amazing freedom and accomplishment is how I want to live. 

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Early Graduation Was Almost Not Worth It
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