Grad Year

East Pictou Rural High School
Pictou County, Nova Scotia

By Natalie P. (Grade 12)

Grad year. Confusion, anxiety, frustration, fear, annoyance, and the inability to relax for even a moment, are aliments that plague most expectant graduates.

This year I am a senior, and the frenzy around me is starting to get me a bit dizzy. Grads are told that this is the most important year of their lives. We are pressured to make so many decisions. However, we are constantly reminded that each decision will drastically affect our futures. This alone is enough to make a person have a nervous breakdown. Then they tell us that we have but a short time in which to make up our minds. We are buried in a mountain of duties such as grad pictures, standardized testing, picking appropriate courses, and N.S.A.T.'s, among many. With all this nervous commotion we are still expected, not only to concentrate on our classes, but to do extremely well in them.

As if we didn't have enough stress, then we've got the teacher who thinks, sub-consciously, that you're already in university. He explains his behaviour by replying, "nobody will help you next year". Excuse me? Who said I was taking this course next year?!

The burdens they thrust upon the expectant grads is unbelievable. With the substantial amount of significantly important decisions we must make, we needn't be bothered with such trivial things or pressures. It is no wonder so many grads fail to graduate or return for another year. They need time to allow the horrendous amount of things that have avalanched upon them to sink in.

Schools have made their students afraid of the world with their preaching of the injustices. Also, how are we suppose to react, thinking we are about to leave a place that has made independent people who strive for success and excellence? In fact, all they have are scared children, who are being rejected and thrown out from a family which they have become dependent on. Can we be truly surprised when so many university students flunk out their first year? After all, they are finally tasting freedom after a year of oppression and extreme pressures. They're like babies taking their first few gulps of air.

Maybe, if teachers and officials eased up on us grads and gave us some breathing room, we might be able to think more clearly. One thing I have learned is human beings need oxygen to breathe and think, and contrary to adults' beliefs, teenagers are human beings too. Maybe if we were allowed to breathe, grad year would be a long-lasting pleasurable memory of adventure and friendship, rather than a catastrophic tragedy inducing life-long trauma.

So, please let us breathe. After all, this will be our last year of childhood, freedom, and unconditional acceptance.

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