I truly hate to give credibility to the soppy sort of inspirational speeches we hear frequently at this point in our loves– “finding yourself” and growing as a person and all that business. I make that perfectly clear because, as much as it pains me to admit it, there’s something to it. Now, you’re not going to hear me say that this is the most important point of our lives because if having to ask someone else if you have permission to go to the washroom is a personal highlight, then you really ought to be re-evaluating a few things. And I don’t think this is the point where you have to choose the person you’re going to be for the rest of your life. Personal change is something you’re capable of your entire life; it’s just when you get old and complacent and cranky it gets very easy to not see the need to. So now, what then is significant about this point of our lives? It’s not anything extraordinary in itself, but rather the beginning of something extraordinary: real life. Unless you’re incredibly precocious, up to this point most of your identity has been influenced by your surroundings: your parents and peers and that television program everyone’s watching. Now, however, we are at a point where (hopefully) we’ve gained the self-awareness to choose the kind of person we want to be, and to get to work on that.
I’ve spent the last two years doing a lot of that. The person I am today is radically different to the person I was two years ago. Completely different friends, interests, values, beliefs attitudes, and a far superior haircut are all ways I’ve grown. I’ve had wonderful experiences over the past two years, as well as some devastating ones, and for both I’m incredibly grateful, because if it weren’t for any small moment of my life up until now, I would be a slightly different person, and I’m proud of what I’ve done with myself, and excited to see where I’m going to go next.
So, entering grade twelve, what is it I want to accomplish? Well, for one thing, I plan on having far more fun than I have had in my previous years of education, which if I do the math, is…very little. That largely is a consequence of doing math in the first place. It’s unfortunate that only this year have I recognized the fact that as dreadful as the last fourteenth day of Math class is, it’s the only time in my life that that will ever happen. Just like the twenty-first day of Science class back in grade eight, and the tenth day of Social in grade ten. Realizing the special finiteness of each individual moment has given me the opportunity to enjoy everything far more. (The fact that I have only one class a quarter certainly helps too.)
As I finish up my time in high school, my thoughts are not in what I’m doing next year or next week–I’m working on enjoying right now. So let that be a word of advice to those grade twelves worrying about their future career, and to everyone concerned about that Science test or their friend Jeremy. I’ve got one year left and I’m going to enjoy it. You do that too.
Jack Harvey is a grade twelve student at CCH. He enjoys (famously) participating in CCH activities and spending as much time as possible making new friends of his classmates. His favourite thing about CCH is the beautiful gift of education he is receiving.