Mia Costales | News Editor
May 28, 2021
Well class of 2021, we made it. In less than a week we will be walking in our caps and gowns, past aisles of chairs to receive a piece of paper that symbolizes the entirety of an academic career. Graduation. A pivotal moment in everyone’s life, made so uncertain due to COVID-19.
It seems as if from the minute we start school, everything is leading to the moment we are handed our diploma. And high school graduation always seemed so far away; at times I was fearful it would never come. From the very first Friday night football game, countless all-nighters filled with studying (or lack thereof), and more recently, the uncertainty of whether we would even get a graduation, I can’t help but think back to freshman year. All of the familiar faces from my middle school, a whole lot of new unrecognizable faces, some old friends and some new friends, and most importantly four long years ahead of me.
Now as a second-semester senior about to graduate in a couple of days, I’ve come back to this question again and again: Why is graduation so important? Even as I attended graduation as an orchestra student my freshman and sophomore year, where we played Pomp and Circumstance for an hour straight, everything about the ceremony just seemed so monumental. Graduation is like the beginning of adulthood. For many, graduating means finally leaving home, leaving behind the comfort of childhood. It can be nerve wracking — terrifying actually — to feel like you need to have your whole life figured out, only to realize that you’re just 18. Yet at the same time, it’s quite exhilarating to be on the cusp of adulthood. To finally have freedom, as cliché as it sounds.
“It’s a little overwhelming with everything seeming to happen all at once, but it is nice to get a sort of recognition and reward after the tough year of COVID-19. I’m excited to go live out of state and experience how other people go on with their lives, outside of the Orange County bubble that I’ve been so accustomed to my whole life,” senior Oliviana Kane said. “I’m a bit worried about being on my own, but I think I can handle it. It’ll be all the better to come back home to San Clemente to really appreciate everything that we take for granted here.”
While graduation is undoubtedly an exciting time for many, it can also be stressful or confusing for some graduates. Especially during COVID-19, where financial stability is at a low. With rising tuition costs and the responsibility of choosing what career to pursue for the next 40 years, it’s all extremely daunting. Change can be difficult and many may feel lost during this time.
“I think graduating is scary because it’s such a drastic change. I’ll be leaving socal and most of my friends, to go to an environment that I’ve heard is way more competitive than high school,” senior Megan Moe said. “Also, there’s a lot of financial anxiety involved because college is expensive.”
Anxiety about the future is valid, however the class of 2021 should feel extremely proud. To graduate is an amazing feat, let alone during a pandemic. And although we all may be a little apprehensive about the future, just think of where we will be in four years. Four years seems like an eternity, but thinking back to freshman year, it seems like just yesterday.