By Sabrina Hornung
Our opinion: Keep your chins up, class of 2023
As the school year draws to a close, this seems to be the time of year when most editors offer up their best advice to the most recent graduating classes, so here are a few words of wisdom from one of the last people who should be doling out advice.
I’d like to direct these words of wisdom and encouragement to those who are having a tough time. To those who lacked encouragement, who didn’t get endless praise for chasing a ball, those of us who weren’t born into instant acceptance by being born with the right name in a small town. And for those of us who may dance to the beat of some other percussive instrument rather than a drum.
Were you bullied relentlessly? Did you wake up with dread wondering what fresh hell awaited you today in those high school hallways? This is for you.
In a world where bullying is praised, normalized and politicized, I can’t imagine how tough school would be. Before social media, the monsters couldn’t go beyond your front door..
We see you, even though everyone’s story and situation are different. We’ve walked the paths less trodden and you are not alone. There are more of us than you think.
Remember that there will always be good and bad days. Even when life seems bleak and when you feel that the system is failing you, there are more people who like you and are rooting for you than you might think.
Try to surround yourself with a positive support system. When you lack that support system, think of your most trusted friend or ally. Is there someone in your community you can confide in? Perhaps a friend, parent, friend’s parent, neighbor, librarian, school counselor or janitor.
Whoever told you high school was supposed to be the best years of your life was pitching you a lie. They may have been good years, but for many they are some of the worst. And hey, it can come out right for you. Believe me, because I’ve been there.
There’s a whole new wild world out there after graduation. Whether you choose to work or go to school, you’ll find your people and you’ll have time to discover and chase your passions.
Some of us are round pegs in square holes. We may not fit into a set mold but we bear it until we find our place in the world, and it’s a heavy weight to bear. It’s tough but try your best not to get stuck. There are a lot of unfair societal expectations out there and they are scams.
My suggestion? Find a creative outlet, some means of expression. Paint it out, write it out, find your voice and sing it out. Start at a whisper or your best gut-wrenching howl.
I promise there will be plenty of others howling with you and you’ll form your pack in no time.
November 13th 2023
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