Class of 2022. I looked at the sticker that had been mailed to me, celebrating my start of high school and the class that I was in. It was the fall of 2018, a few days before my first day of freshman year, and I tucked the sticker away, smiling at the fact that I had four whole years of high school ahead of me — a time period that felt like an eternity. 2022 was ages away, right?
Three years later, cleaning out my desk, I saw the sticker again. While a bit creased and dusty, its bright yellow letters still announced my graduation year: Class of 2022. I read it over, surprised that I had once considered 2022 to be ages in the future. It was now only a few months away, and in less than a year, I would be graduating high school.
Coming to terms with my final year of high school and my upcoming graduation has been bittersweet (to say the least). I have college applications, senior traditions, sports seasons, and difficult classes ahead of me this year. I am starting to have my “lasts” — my last first day of school, my last first water polo practice, my last back-to-school dance. The activities and moments that were once so significant in my life are starting to fade into the background as I close the chapter entitled “High School.” It’s difficult to process, but it’s also incredibly exciting. I have looked forward to my senior year for my entire life, and everything that I have done thus far in high school is culminating into the sense of peace and contentment that I feel. College, and the year 2022, have always seemed like a lifetime away. Now, they are so close that I can almost taste them.
On Friday, I will have my senior sunrise — one of the most beloved senior traditions at my school. The entirety of the class of 2022 will assemble on the football field at 6:15 am and watch the sun rise on what will likely be a beautiful, impactful year. Sipping coffee and munching on donuts to stay awake, I know that the sun rising signifies just that: a new beginning. My life won’t be over after high school. In fact, it’s only getting started.