Graduation: Talking With a Member of the Class of 2015.


June is a month that is all about dads and grads. Later this month we’ll be switching gears and giving dads their due. For now though, it’s all about celebrating the well-earned successes of graduates of all kinds. Whether it’s kindergarten or college, the ritual of the graduation ceremony is something that almost of us will experience in some way at some point in our lives. Where better to start the celebration of this year’s graduates than with someone who is about to become one?

SO YOU ARE ABOUT TO BECOME A HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE?
I am. I think there’s about 15 days to go, something like that.

ARE YOU EXCITED?
Yeah. I mean, I’ve gotten used to the idea now. It’s like in the beginning of the year you’re all excited because you know you’re a senior and there’s so much coming. You’re kind of nervous but also excited. At least that’s how I was. But, by the second half of the year, you’ve done so much senior stuff already that it’s kind of old news. It’s like you just want to get to the end of it and get on with your life already.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE IDEA OF SAVORING THE MOMENT? I’M SURE PEOPLE HAVE TOLD YOU TO STEP BACK AND TAKE IT ALL IN, THAT THESE ARE THE BEST TIMES OF YOUR LIFE.
Yeah. I know. I don’t mean to say that I’m rushing through it or that I don’t understand the significance. I will definitely miss this time in my life. I’ll miss my friends and just the day-to-day stuff that you complain about for four years. But there’s definitely elements that I won’t miss as well.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THOSE THINGS ARE- THE THINGS YOU WON’T MISS?
Papers. Tests. Chem. Oh man, I will definitely not miss AP Chemistry. Having to give my sister a ride to school every day. I’m only like half kidding about that part.

grad old mainYOU’RE STARTING COLLEGE IN THE FALL. WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
Penn State Main.

WAS THAT YOUR FIRST CHOICE? DID YOU LOOK AT OTHER SCHOOLS?
It was definitely top 3. Scranton, Hofstra, Arcadia, Towson, Rutgers, TCNJ, I think those are all we actually like went to look at and tour and all that.

WHAT WERE YOU LOOKING FOR IN A SCHOOL? HOW’D YOU MAKE YOUR CHOICE?
Well, I wanted a school that had a good program for Forensic Science. And I wanted one that was far enough away but not too far if you know what I mean. My parents wanted me to stay within a 500 miles radius. They wanted me to try to stay in state if possible to try to save money on out-of-state tuition, but they would have been okay with me going out. And then what the schools were offering financially as well. I started by just picking 10 schools on the east coast with good programs. Then I went down the list and filtered out those that I know I couldn’t get in to. Then we looked at the cost, the location, etc. I think I got rid of 3 or 4 just based on grades and money. The rest we went to look at and that narrowed it down to 3. Penn State wound up offering me the most.

ARE YOU NERVOUS, EXCITED, SCARED, HAPPY, AS FAR AS ENTERING COLLEGE IN A FEW MONTHS?
I am all of that I guess. I’m pretty excited to be honest. But of course I think there’s stuff to be nervous about. Doing my laundry. Not having my mom around to remind me of things. Hoping my roommate isn’t an asshole. Fitting in.

WAS COLLEGE EVER NOT AN OPTION FOR YOU? DID YOU EVER THINK ABOUT ANOTHER PATH AFTER HIGH SCHOOL?
Not really. I don’t think that is an option with my parents really. I mean, I could go get a job I guess. No actually I don’t really think I could do that (laughter). I mean I know there are obviously people who don’t go to college. My parents really didn’t bring us up that way though. It’s just like a further part of your education. Like school doesn’t end in 12th grade. High school ends in 12th grade. Then you go to college. It’s just what you do.

DO YOU FEEL THAT WAY? DO YOU FEEL LIKE IF SOMEDAY YOUR KIDS DIDNT WANT TO GO TO COLLEGE, IT WOULD BE A PROBLEM FOR YOU?
Probably. I mean I am going to love them and support them no matter what. I expect that I’ll raise them knowing how important education is and that college is just the next step in your educational journey. If there’s a really good alternative for them than I guess we could discuss it. Who knows what things will even be like by then.

YOU MEAN LIKE HOVERCRAFTS AND SHUTTLES TO MARS (LAUGHTER)? YOU’RE 18. IT’S FEASIBLE THAT YOU COULD HAVE KIDS WITHIN THE NEXT DECADE. HOW MUCH CAN THINGS CHANGE?
(Laughing) I know. It sounds funny. I didn’t mean it like that. Things do change though. I just meant that maybe things will happen that will make me rethink the way I relate to them about different things.

DO YOU HAVE PLANS FOR RIGHT AFTER GRADUATION? BETWEEN NOW AND WHEN YOU LEAVE FOR COLLEGE?
I’m working. I’ve had the same job for three summers now as a camp counselor. We’re going to have a party and head down the shore for a few days with some other kids who are graduating and then I come home, go to work and get ready or school.

DO YOU FEEL LIKE THERE’S A LOT OF PRESSURE ON YOU, AND ON YOUR GENERATION IN GENERAL TO DO WELL?
I get my own pressure. I mean, I am the one who has to live with what I do and what I get out of it, so I think I’ll be putting most of the pressure on myself. I do think that this is an age where kids really want to do well and be successful. I think they’re trying to turn around the really negative ideas that people have developed about teenagers and people my age.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THOSE NEGATIVE THINGS ARE AND WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE HAVE THESE PERCEPTIONS?
That we are lazy. That we can’t function without our phones. That our parents spoil us and baby us and don’t hold us accountable for anything. That we don’t have any clue what is actually going on in the world. The whole generation has this reputation for being narcissistic and addicted to social media.

AND YOU AGREE?
I do actually. I mean there’s some great kids out there. Kids I know, that I’m graduating with. But I look at my sister (age 15) and her friends and I just can’t believe how shallow and self-centered they can be.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO FOR THE FALL?
Being out on my own. Seeing what my classes are like. Exploring new things. Meeting people.

WHAT ARE YOU LEAST LOOKING FORWARD TO?
A lot more work. Missing my friends.

PARTING WORDS TO FELLOW MEMBERS OF THE CLASS OF 2015?
Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.grad

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