Better late than never…

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Today’s post is in response to this week’s Remembe(red) prompt over at the The Red Dress Club. We were asked to write about Graduation…

I was 19 when I graduated.

I was 19 when I graduated because on that first day of Senior year, the year before – or what should have been my Senior year – I had marched down to the main office of Southridge, with my mother in tow and had her sign me out of high school.

I thought I was wasting my time in school. I only needed three credits to graduate. I hated my high school. Most of my friends were older than I was and had graduated the prior year. I wanted to start living my life. I wanted out. I thought I was too big and too smart and that my stupid school was dragging me down, preventing me from going out into the world and becoming the person I wanted to be.

God only knows what possessed my parents to let me drop out. I can’t recall the details all these years later, the story I must have spun in order to convince them that I would take a few classes at night school and graduate before all of my Senior class. I can be pretty persuasive when I want to be. I probably threw the “job” word out there, which was a magic word with my father.

The truth was, I dropped out of night school after taking only two classes. I needed ONE more class and I would have been done. With a high GPA, with a transcript full of honors and advanced placement classes…but I dropped out of night school too. I felt that my classes were beneath me – they were. I felt that my teachers didn’t give a shit – they didn’t. I gave up on “school.”

I ran away to North Carolina.

I built a house with my grandparents. I drank wine coolers with my grandmother. We went on day trips through the mountains and picked wild greens. We stayed up late and watched David Letterman together, chain smoking and drinking Coca Cola.

And one day, out of nowhere, I felt stupid. I had coasted through high school with good grades without even trying. I wans’t MENSA material, but I was smart. I loved to read. My teachers loved me. I had lots of friends. I was cute and pretty and had no enemies.

Yet here I was, in this podunk town, doing absolutely nothing.

So I went home. I went home and I enrolled in the same high school, took the same courses I would have taken had I stayed to begin with. I figured I’d pick up where I left off, then join the Marines like I had been thinking about ever since I could remember.

What was left of my friends had already graduated that June. They’d all gone on to college. I was utterly and completely alone that last year. Sure, I made new friends with my classmates. But it wasn’t the same. I had known most of my classmates since middle school, some of them even from elementary school. And my classes? It was difficult walking into AP English after being out of school for a year. I struggled.

It was hard. It was even harder when I got pregnant halfway through the school year.

But I did it. I walked down that isle and I graduated high school. A year late and a dollar short, but I did it all the same.

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    This is quite the story! Drinking wine coolers with your grandmother has to be the best part. Oh, and yeah, going back to school and finishing. Let’s not forget that part :)

  2. says

    It takes a lot of courage to admit we didn’t make the best decision and even more to try and rectify it.
    I’m sure your parents were very proud of you for graduating, no matter WHEN you did it :)

  3. says

    Oh your story! Your journey really (Do you hate that word? I know it’s overused, but so perfect here, right? Forgiven?). I feel like I learned so very much about that here.

    You picked and chose strong moments and emotions to share. I also adore that you married just the right amount of experience with reflection to make for a powerful read.

    And last, but not least, you did it! You made your choices, came full circle, and did what was best for *you.* Pure awesome.

  4. says

    Holy crap on a cracker. This sounds like a great piece of fiction, much less real life! I know it’s cliche, as mentioned above, but what an incredible journey. Sure, you could have done things traditionally, but I can only imagine that you learned more during the time that you spent away from school than you would have stuck in class. There’s book smart and there’s life smart, and some lessons–and decisions–can’t be taught or made in school.

    You eloquently shared those lessons and came out all the wiser 😉

  5. says

    Good for you! Doesn’t matter when you did it, just matters that you did it. I can certainly relate to that feeling…of wanting to drop out, of wishing for escape. You were brave to do it…but you were even braver to go back and finish.

    Stopping by from TRDC.

  6. says

    Good for you for going back to get your diploma! I, too, had the same disregard for school at that time in my life but I did end up getting my diploma as well. Punk kids. Think they know everything. lol

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