Well today I can officially say I am a high school graduate.
My goal was to finish high school before my birthday on the 20th when I turn seventeen, so I made it just shy of a few days. As you might or might not know I am (or, "was") homeschooled all the way through my education.
Finishing high school means that suddenly I have the time to do things I have been wanting or needing to do. Such as getting a part-time job, reading more books, and taking extra-ed classes on auto repair and graphic design. And I also have more time to start studying Thai words and phrases for our mission trip in several weeks. But it also means that something that was once a huge part of my life, is over. No more history papers, no more late-night science experiments, no more filling up the dry-erase board with math formulas. I mean I still have online college but that's on my own. It's like the series finale of a show you have literally grown up with, or moving away from the hometown you were raised in (I can relate to both of those).
It's exciting of course, to have finally finished - I can distinctly remember one night when I was twelve or thirteen and couldn't understand multiple division, and filled page after page with numbers and problems, and I chewed on my pencil wishing this day could come much sooner. Well, it's here. And I feel sad.
Quite literally, it's as if my life has changed overnight. Unlike public school students I didn't have a final countdown or final class and a graduation party is too expensive for us to afford. My mother is taking me out for coffee in nine minutes, and I am currently looking over all my old history, science, language arts, and spelling projects from the past twelve years.
I know what I am going to do next. I don't want a chocolate cake or a fancy present or a shopping trip to Macy's. What I would like is to get my feet in the mud again, stack some wood or bale some hay like I always do in the spring and summer, be alive again. I want to go for a run and write another chapter in my book. Tonight I would like to go for a drive or watch a favorite film, maybe write a poem or draw a picture as well. As my dad put it, I've just finished one flight of stairs and now I'm about to ascend another, and it's as terrifying as it is awesome. I'm not quite sure when the knowledge will truly sink in and zip the rug out from under me. Maybe once the crazy weekend is over and I'm for the most part back to normal routine, and suddenly there are no more projects or papers to write. I'm just not sure.
But if there is one thing I have learned to not like over the years it's saying goodbye. I hated saying goodbye to our first and last dog Colie. I hated saying goodbye to my hometown. Hated saying goodbye to three grandparents in under six months. Hated saying goodbye to Rebecca, Larry, Paul, Zach, Stormie, Donna, Sammy, Jen, and I will hate saying goodbye to my brother this August when he goes to college. And now I have something else to say goodbye too: being homeschooled.
Then again, saying goodbye to my hometown meant I got to say hello to where I live now, and looking back I'm glad we moved here for our own safety as a family. And saying goodbye to homeschool means I can start saying hello to my adult life, being out on my own, fulfilling my dreams one after the other. Like I already mentioned, many doors have opened to me for what I can do that I couldn't do before.
It's kind of a lot to take in.