Seniors Speaks: The Feeling of Onwards

As the class of 2015 counts down to its graduation, we’ll be counting through this year’s Senior Speaks. Beginning with our first installment, here is Shelly Teng’s article The Feeling of Onwards.

I’m sitting here with 18 days left to mark on my calendar and for some reason, I can’t seem to find a way to describe this elusive terminus I’m caught in. Soon, all 194 of us will be gathered together on a stage, where we will not only lift silk sleeves above our heads but also the countless memories we’ve created. This time, unfortunately, will also be the last we can look around and find the same collection of people we’ve grown to know throughout these past three years.

I know this is true, but somehow, I can’t quite describe this feeling of onwards. It’s not quite elation, and it’s not quite sadness either. I feel like, more than anything, I’m struck with a bittersweet reluctance…a yearning and a fear. I’m scared of losing this interconnected web that we’re all a part of, because the truth is, the way we’ve come to know our class is so particular to this IMSA community.

Although our “pack the stands” are always half-assed and our sense of class unity may be decidedly absent, I feel like this campus is blanketed by a different type of spirit – we might not bleed blue and white, but our veins course together in a different way. We share sentiments that others can’t ever relate to – homesickness, 3am fire alarms, endless in-room violations. And most importantly, we shared these things with the same people for 3 years.

Although I don’t doubt that I’ll find the same strength of friendships later in life, part of me really doubts that I won’t find the same degree of intimacy across an entire campus. You see, missing people isn’t always about the people you truly know. Your closest friends? You’ll see them again in due time. No, rather, I’m talking about the people we call our “luck friends” or the people that you randomly know had a crush on so-and-so just because of the wildfire gossip culture that our school breeds. I’m talking about the friends of your friends or the people that you see during that one second mod break. I’m talking about the people that we won’t ever find a chance to meet up with again, because we weren’t close enough to them to deliberately seek them out. For some reason, it’s this sense of familiarity that I’m afraid of losing and not having.

Looking around me, every spot on this campus seems to carry its own reminder of youth and recklessness – procrastination, staying up too late, breaking rules. But at the same time, they also remind me of growing up and my own fragility – divulging secrets at 5am, tear shed, heartbreak. We shared some of our rawest moments with the people here, and that sort of comfort is just something I’m not entirely ready to give up just yet.

Although I know my high school career is quickly coming to an end, part of me isn’t ready for “onwards”. Don’t get me wrong – I’m just as excited as the next person for college and starting a new life. But at the same time, I can’t deny the fact that leaving this intimate comfort makes me want to live in the past for a little longer. IMSA, somehow, has become a place I’ve both cursed and loved, and I’m afraid that we won’t find such a thorough interconnectedness again.

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