As the school year winds down for private schools in New York, many seniors prepare to leave high school for the final time. I have attended The Calhoun School on the Upper West Side for the last 13 years, which means I have, for the most part, seen the same places, people, and same things, five days a week, nine months a year. For me, these have become the sort of everyday consistencies that can sometimes be taken for granted.
Now, all at once, they are coming to an end. Calhoun has been the most consistent thing in my life outside of my family for as long as I can remember and filling that void will be difficult.
You know the saying “you don’t know what you got until it’s gone?” This feels like a similar case except it is, “you don’t what you got until it’s almost gone.” For about the last six months, we as a senior class have come to the realization that those givens of seeing one another every day, of talking, laughing, and learning together are coming to an end. Even though we have all been going to school together for years, this realization has pulled us all closer to each other. I find myself not only growing closer to people I have known well for years, but with people who were only acquaintances before this year. This effect goes beyond just the senior grades and extends to people in the grades below us, many of whom I have also grown closer with. Even though this newfound closeness is great, it somehow makes leaving even sadder. I wish I’d gotten to know some of my classmates sooner. It also makes it harder to leave because I suddenly find myself so close to those who I am about to leave behind.
Another part of what makes graduating high school hard is that Manhattan private schools have a unique culture. They are small and everyone knows everyone. Exiting this culture is another form of change for me. In addition to everyone knowing or at least knowing of everyone (and this includes people in other schools) the culture is relatively insular. People tend to keep themselves within the circle of people who go to their school and, in some cases, a few people from other private schools. This relatively small group of people is what many of us have known for a significant portion of our lives, so leaving it is something new for many of us. It is scary, nerve wracking, and exciting all at the same time.
This is not to say, however, that we have not been prepared for what awaits us next. In fact, I feel well prepared for the transition out of high school and into college. Calhoun provides us with plenty of opportunities to get out of our little community and try and experience the world in general. For example: I, as well as the entire senior class at my school, are doing internships for the last few weeks of our senior year. While it has only been a couple short weeks, I can already say that having time in a work environment has been a great experience, and makes me feel confident not just in a work environment but also in adapting to any new environment.
When you have been somewhere for so long it begins to permeate every aspect of your life. During my time at Calhoun, a large percentage of what I have done both in and out of school has been influenced by it. I have loved almost every moment of my time at Calhoun. From the friends I’ve made, to the things I’ve done, I feel as if I could not have gotten the experiences I have had at Calhoun anywhere else, and I am forever grateful for that.
But as sad as it may be, it is time to move on. It is time to go out and do new things, and time to explore new places. We’re all heading off to college after this, into the world without each other, into a something that really is unknown for us. Will it be hard? Yes. Will it be scary? Yes. But, it will also be fun and exciting, and I know that I am more than ready to go out and make most of all the opportunities the world presents to me beyond high school.
Cody Gerard, an intern at this newspaper, will be one of the speakers at his school’s commencement on June 12.