This past May I endured the mentally difficult time of IB final exams after an intense 30 day study period. I am extremely ambitious and I set very high expectations for myself. I dedicated most of my time and energy these past two years to the International Baccalaureate high school programme. Results are in in one week and even though I am soiling my trousers over here, I look back on my graduation day with tears of relief. I anticipated this day for years and the dozens of hugs and congratulations that I received made it an extremely special day.
Back when I was sixteen and entering the preparatory year to this program I told myself; if I work hard now, after a long and strenuous struggle, there will be light. And this light will be very bright.
I wasn't wrong.
All this partyparty made me think of traditions. Isn't it extraordinary that pressing a white cap with a golden cockade to your head felt like those countless late nights, tears of frustration and genuinely feeling like nothing is worth this amount of sleep deprivation-
suddenly was worth it?
Forgive my sentimentality but honesty is something that I value. And I feel like I must be honest in writing to you, because this day, reaching this rite of passage, was what my life revolved around for so long. The fact that it is now over fills me all kinds of emotions. Relief, mostly, but I also feel proud.
For once I am letting go of the strict self-critic in me and loudly stating that yes, I am proud of myself.
I have earned this. And even though a part of me is always looking for ways I could have studied even more and tried even harder, I know that the version of myself that studied nine hours every day, and relentlessly pushed on, brought it into the exam room. Even though I aim for the highest grade in most subjects, at this point I'll be proud of most anything I receive because I know of the struggle it took to get me here. And also, getting into university would be great...
But history aside, oh boy was this day magical. Everyone who was wearing a student cap that day smiled and congratulated each other. Strangers on the street expressed their delight as our white-hat-posse giggled past. I was so happy and elated to see my friends after their struggle, after their push, dressed beautifully and taking it all in.
The tradition is to host a party at home for relatives and friends and the amount of people who came to see me was overwhelming and wonderful.
My girl through thick and thin- what a priviledge it was to graduate with you.
The IB community brought to a new group of wonderful friends, that became the best. Ambitious, beautiful nerds.
Was so humbled to have my dearest girl fly in from London to see me graduate and fill in my Dad's spot at the ceremony. Twins, always.
After my Dad gave a speech to the party, I had trouble getting my words of gratitude out. Someone took this mildly humiliating picture of that mildly humiliating moment, but I cherish it all the same.
I was so delighted that so many of my teachers visited my party. After all, we were only 25 students in our class and we were taught by the same teachers for three years. Some of my classes were as small as four students.
These were the guys and gals that graded my work at 5.30 am, two hours after I'd sent it in, just to make sure I'd get quick feedback. These teachers sat down with their students individually and told them where they need to improve, and where they are already doing brilliantly. I am so thankful to have been taught by an incredibly dedicated bunch of experts. Some of my teachers became very important to me; not only educators, but mentors and even friends.
My siblings are amazing. Crazy hardworking people that have stood by me always. Love them.
My parents, who withstood me cooking secret dinners at 1.30 am for studysnacking, my horrendously messy room, and stressed out moodswings. I won't follow the medical career path like everyone else in my family, and they are amazing for supporting me in my endeavors.
My extended family, whom with I would walk to Micky D's in my pyjamas and dispose of the evidence quickly in order to keep our cover. You are the greatest.
My fellow IB survivor, partner in crime for life.
So, I don't about you, but there are times in life, when many claim they have finished 'a chapter', or reached a rite of passage. These markers might be illusions that traditions build for us, but genuine or not, they feel wonderful.
I could not be happier I made the choices I made and did the work I did. I am now -- this close to being accepted to my university of choice and
--------------- this ready to hop off a plane to England and start a new way of living.
Keep it real.