Thirteen years provide many life lessons outside of curriculum


Abby Dendish

Thirteen years of schooling and, here we are, about to throw our caps into the air, take our diploma home and, just like that, it’s over. The thirteen years we spent studying and trying to pass our classes are over. The first days of school when our biggest concern was if our friends were in our classes are over. Last minute schedule changes are over. Debating if we want the normal lunch or the salad bar for lunch or whether to sit at the normal lunch table or hide in the bathroom to avoid social interaction, will be over.
While some of us are excited to end this chapter and start the next, others feel as if they are not ready. No matter what you are feeling, just know it’s valid. One thing that I have learned through my 13 years of school is that, no matter the problem, no matter the situation, it is valid. Learn to listen to one another, learn to listen to yourself. Learn to stop comparing yourself to others because you will never be satisfied if you live a life in comparison. Be happy with what you have or what you have accomplished because, no matter how far you try to distance yourself from who you are, at the end of the day, you are stuck with yourself.
In the thirteen years that I have been in school, I have learned that everyone has a story. Everyone has a different home life than others, different family situations, and different ways that they were raised. So as we move on with our own lives, remember to listen. Listen to one another without judgment. Don’t put a label on someone because of a rumor you heard or what you see on the outside. Listen.
I myself have my own story. When I was a child I was put up for adoption where a family who is not biologically related to me would raise me. There are days that it becomes difficult for me not knowing who my biological parents are or their reasoning for why they chose to give me up, but it is my story that makes me who I am. My story to share, for others to listen.
Throughout the thirteen years of school I have learned the hard reality that life is not like it is pictured to be in the movies, nor will it ever be. Friendships and relationships may end while others may last. People move on and people change. I have learned that although sometimes we may not understand the reasoning behind certain events, the more you allow yourself to accept it will allow you to learn, grow, and mature.
During the COVID 19 pandemic I was uprooted from my hometown in Texas and moved to Warsaw Missouri my sophomore year. Although I did online school that year it made me realize how much friend groups change and how people can change.
In my thirteen years of school, I have learned to love myself through the highs and lows of life. As much as I believe in learning how to love yourself, you should also learn how to love others and cherish moments you have. God does not tell us how much time we have left in our lifetime, so it is important to not take for granted the time we have left. Many of my classmates, as well as myself, have experienced the feeling of grief that comes with losing a loved one. It is not an easy emotion to deal with, for some it may subside while others it may never go away. As unfortunate as it is, it is a part of life. I lost my grandma when I was a freshman in high school, I miss her every day of my life. I wish that she could be here with me as I end this chapter of my life and I begin the next. But then I remember, although she is up in heaven, she is always in my heart. For the ones who have lost either a friend or a family member, know in your heart that they are with you.
Many of us have had good and bad times in the thirteen years of schooling, but we made it. It seems such a cliche thing to say but it’s true, we made it. We made it through the rough times when we thought we might not make it to the next day. The times when we wanted to give up and not fight the fight anymore. We made it through the times it was hard to get out of bed because we just didn’t want to face the day. We made it through the times when we questioned if we were going to be able to eat that night or if we could even manage to stay awake to finish the last page of our book because our grade depended on it. So congratulations, you made it.
Lastly, remember to say thank you. Thank you to my friends and family who stood by my side when I thought I had nobody. Thank you to the teachers who not only taught us the curriculum, but life lessons that we needed. Thank you to the ones we have lost who look down on us from heaven. Thank you to the ones who have fought for our country. Thank you for the ones who made us stronger. Thank you for the ones that took us in as their own and called us family even if we weren’t blood. Thank you to the Lord above who rules over all. Remember to thank yourself, remember to love yourself, and continue to learn, mature, and grow.