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Last Saturday (a.k.a the day I waited 4 years for) marked the end of my high school journey as I participated in high school graduation. Through the countless hugs, flowers, pictures, and goodbyes, I came to a shocking epiphany: I was going to miss this place called high school. 

For the longest time, I deemed high school as a prison tainted by Regina George wannabes, people who had no passion, impostors, and girls too bubbly for my taste. Upon further inspection, I realized that maybe I hated high school so much because I hated who I was in high school. I was that girl. A+ Average Asian. The quiet girl who desperately tried to be an extrovert. Jenna Hamilton from Awkward. The girl with big dreams, but no gut or initiative. But senior year changed everything for me. I became the extrovert without even trying. I talked to anyone and everyone so effortlessly. I trusted my guts; I took initiative. I was Peggy 2.0, a completely different girl. What changed? I hate to admit it, but clichés are half right, because confidence was the answer. I had a change of heart the summer before senior year. I realized it was okay to be quirky. People around me were not going to overanalyze every single mistake I make, contrary to my belief. And dreams and goals and passions? Those things don’t happen unless community happens. When I opened up to people, people were willing to help in my goal, which ended up being our goals. Being fearless in relationships with people, in goals, in school, and in life changed me. That’s what I’m going to miss most about high school. I am going to miss the person I was my senior year because the “what if” questions constantly linger in my mind. What if I won’t be “Peggy 2.0” in university? What if I become the shy, awkward person again? I’m going to miss being confident in front of my class. I’m going to miss the friendships that I have made and the friendships that have grown. I’m going to miss the little things, like how everyone seemed to master the trick of cutting the cafeteria line, except for me. I’m going to miss the complaints about my school’s incredibly slow Wi-fi. Well, that one is debatable. I’m going to miss certain teachers who taught me wonderful subjects, but also taught me about the subject of Life. I’m going to miss the inside jokes, the nicknames, the glamour, the routines.

That being said, I am very hopeful for the future. I have learned my lessons, and I will strive to become a better version of myself every day. University contains a plethora of new and exciting opportunities, ones that I cannot wait to participate in. I acknowledge that there will be days in the future where I love university, but there will also be reading-yearbook-messages-while-eating-ice-cream-and-watching-prom-dvd moments as well. I am surprisingly okay with that though because everything seems to work out in the end. It always does.