Thursday, May 26, 2011
Decisions, Decisions... for the Graduate
We’re celebrating graduations this week on the Buzz Blog. To do my part, I'm posting a few photos from senior year, including my prom pic with my best guy friend back then, Michael -- what a cutie!
For me, senior year was a little weird. All of my best friends were a year or two ahead of me in school, so after they left, it was time to make new friends. I spent the year hanging out with my peeps from my drama and art classes, or the kids (like Michael) I worked with at the local fast-food joint. Yes, I was a drive-thru queen that year.
It wasn’t a bad job. The people (mostly from other high schools) were fun, and it was only embarrassing when the kids who didn’t have to have after school jobs came into the place or whizzed through the drive-thru. It was great to have a little spending money and to get some work experience, even if it was handing paper bags of greasy food out a little window.
I could tell you so many stories about the shenanigans that went on there -- The grill boys who blasted the song “Hell’s Bells” after closing to annoy the very conservative manager. The night some guy said lewd things into the drive-thru speaker to the girl taking orders, making the high school football star that worked with us so mad he nearly crawled out the delivery window to rip the creep's face off. The day an ex-boyfriend who’d unceremoniously ditched me rolled through on his Vespa to pick up a burger.
It was a YA novel in action all around me.
Anyway, when graduation rolled around, I set my sights on going to the local liberal arts college. My dad was a single parent who owned his house, so financial aid was really limited for us. I basically chose a school we could afford. I had finished in the top ten percent of my class, was a National Merit Letter of Commendation winner, and got a partial scholarship based on my art skills and plans to major in film, but somehow though, when I learned that the boy who was right behind me in the class rankings was going to Dartmouth, I questioned why I hadn’t applied to any Ivy League schools -- that maybe I’d set my sights too low.
Through that summer, I thought a lot about the purpose of college, about wanting to learn in a focused and collaborative way. My chosen school, The Evergreen State College, seemed like it was the right choice after all. I realized it didn’t matter what anyone else was doing -- it only mattered what was right for me. (Good realization, kid!)
When I arrived at Evergreen in the fall and took my first drawing, photography, and creative writing classes, I felt at home. And later, when I started my film courses, I really dug in. By the time I graduated college, I knew one thing for sure -- I was born to be an artist and to tell stories. I have Evergreen to thank for that.
It’s a very weird time, high school graduation. You have to make some choices based on a future you may or may not have. You’re pointing your little boat out into the waters with only a little lighthouse of a possible career to guide you. By the time you make it to the other shore, you may find it’s not what you thought it would be, that you’ve grown and changed as you navigated the currents. It’s terrifying and exhilarating, and only the very beginning of your journey.
I would love to know if you had any moments of doubt about the school you chose (or are choosing now). How did you pick the right one for you? Were you influenced by friends or family members who wanted you to go somewhere?
Remember, if you comment on any of our posts this week, you’ll be eligible to win a $25 Amazon gift card! Tina will draw the winner this weekend...
Congrats to all the grads and their families!
Wherever You Go - Harcourt November 2011
The Clearing - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Never Cry Werewolf - HarperTeen
Sometimes by Moonlight: A Novella - ebook original June 2011