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the Gauntlet

the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

The paradoxical reality of graduating high school: am I ready?

Why is it that I felt more ready for college as a freshman than I do now? With only 15 days until graduation, I question whether or not Im truly ready to graduate.
Sarabeth Wester
I feel as though I’m running towards a void, with my only guide being a clock, counting down till the life I’ve known slips from my fingers.

For years, I have waited for this moment. I’ve planned where I want to go to college, what I want to study, what I want to be in the future; I planned my entire future. Each year was just one year closer to my high school graduation: I couldn’t wait to get out. Get out of Saint Stephen’s, out of Bradenton, out of Florida, out of the life I have known– I never stopped to realize, am I really ready to go?

It’s weird– graduating high school. Since Freshman year, I’ve felt so ready to move on to college, but now, with 15 days until graduation, I have felt the most unsure.

I always knew that going to college meant change, but I guess I never realized what would change: no more having your dog jump up on you after a long day, no more going to Pho Street with your best friend, and no more coming home to Mom and Dad.

As I approach graduation, one concept that has been told to me my whole life, has become painstakingly obvious; time never stops.

I feel myself wanting to put on the brakes, to put my feet down and stop the flow of time, but I can’t; I can’t stop time, no matter how hard I try.

Trust me when I say, I know it’s cliche, but you need to savor your time. I wish I had appreciated each individual day, made sure I told my parents I loved them every morning, and made sure to never skip out on family time because that’s all time I’m never going to get back. Now, in three months, I’ll be 712.9 miles away from them, and after I graduate college, who knows where in the world I will live; I may never be that close to my family again, certainly not under one roof. So, call me crazy, but I’m not ready to leave them.

I mean, what will I do when I can’t go to my parents for help? Sure, I can call them, but nothing will compare to the real, in-person interaction.

Parents aside, going to college means leaving everything I have known behind.

The Coco Joes on Manatee Ave, where I always go after a bad day; the Turner’s Donuts I used to go to every Sunday morning; Lewis Park, where I played as a kid; Center Montessori School, where I attended from Pre-K to 8th grade; The Micheals on Cortez road, where my grandma would take me after school to get art supplies: All these places hold core memories that have defined my childhood.

I wish I had appreciated those special places and cherished my childhood a little more– maybe I wouldn’t feel so apprehensive now. But that is what I am here to do; make sure that no one makes the same mistake I did: I wish I had never grown up.

So now, with my time ticking down and the clock nearly catching up, I’ve found myself spending every moment I can with my family and appreciating what I have in this present moment. Make the absolute most out of living in your hometown, under your parents’ roof, because someday, in the near future, that reality will cease to exist.

So, instead of focusing on the pendulum of time, fixate on the time you have left; I have 90 days of summer vacation before my college move-in, which is enough time to make some new core memories with my family.

For now, I will just embrace the paradox of it all. I may never feel as ready to go to college as I did as a freshman, but I believe that is why I am ready—I know to appreciate the time I have and am aware of what’s truly important in life: family.

So maybe– just maybe– I am ready for college…

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About the Contributors
Alex McLemore
Alex McLemore, Editor In Chief
Alex McLemore is a senior and a third-year gauntlet member. He valiantly leads the Gauntlet for the 2023-2024 school year as the Editor in Chief. While he is “off-duty,” he loves performing at various community theaters. In college, he hopes to pursue a BFA in Musical Theater. McLemore is also an avid movie junky. His favorite songs include anything Lana Del Ray, Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, and Be More by Stephen Sanchez. 

Sarabeth Wester
Sarabeth Wester, Creative Director/Artist
Sarabeth Wester is a senior on The Gauntlet with four years under her belt of hard work in the newsroom as our Creative Director. Her favorite color is purple, she has a cat and a dog who she loves dearly, and she plays video games in her free time - her favorite being Fallout 4 even with it's imperfections. Her favorite movies are Days of Thunder, Top Gun, and Wall-E - she believes everyone should watch them at least once.  

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