Although high school is ending, it’s hard to believe
That in a few weeks we will all really leave.
So the time has now come to look back and reflect,
For our minds to unfold and our thoughts to collect.
And I opened a drawer full of things I had done –
Full of work I had toiled, awards I had won.
I poured me some water and gulped down a glug,
And I sat myself down on the living room rug.
Then I thought about which things had helped me to grow,
What had forced me to learn all the things that I know.
For the girl who was me when I started ninth grade
Has over the past years been mostly remade.
So I’ll now do my best to precisely make clear
All the things that enveloped my high school career.
And you may wonder why I am speaking in rhyme,
With my meter in check and my rhythm in time.
But I’ve found for myself that it’s been best to look
At my insights as shown through a Dr. Seuss book.
Yes, it seems in the end all the things that I know
Have sprung forth from the book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
As I started in high school, my mind opened wide
As I strapped myself in for the four-year-long ride.
And I scribbled down notes as the track looped and turned,
And I put in the work for the grades that I earned.
My teachers all taught me the primary things
That I kept well arranged in my binder’s three rings.
Old friends grew new ones and cliques slowly swelled
‘Til new friend formations stuck strongly to meld.
I held fast to these friendships I’d grown to hold dear
As I clung to the rule-book throughout the whole year.
Then as time began passing as time seems to do,
I began finding rules that just simply weren’t true.
So I took out a pen and began to revise
All the places where truth blended in with the lies.
For the rules are for playing a counterfeit game
Where the rule-writers write without knowing your name.
So you have to make edits and choose your own route
As you learn for yourself what the ride is about.
So what have I learned from rerouting my map?
Well to start it’s that some routes are just full of crap.
And that people will tell you what roads you should take
Lest you make a wrong turn, lest you make a mistake.
But for tossing my compass, my roads have all shown
That some of the best paths are best walked alone.
Said Robert E. Frost, ’twas the less-traveled road,
From which all of his wisdom and knowledge had flowed.
And said Emerson, too, if there’s no path to scale,
You can find your own way and then leave your own trail.
So by clearing my own way I got a good view
Of things more important than I am or you.
In the distance I saw, far beyond my own spot,
Places wrong things were thriving and right things were not.
And it got me to thinking just how small we are,
And how much we don’t see simply ’cause it’s too far.
In high school, perspective gets all out of whack
As our teachers and parents all get on our back.
About grade points and college, and our SATs,
Our future as told by the board of APs.
So we pull out our hair and we work through the night
And we pray to the gods that we’re doing it right.
And while we do our fretting for getting our As,
We fuss with our makeup and hairdos for days.
We stress about crushes, get crushed by our stresses,
And cough up a grand for the perfect prom dresses.
Yes, a crushed crush is stressy, but some dress costs less,
And somewhere they’re addressing a messier mess.
With this tongue-twister twisting, my water cup flumed,
And I saw just how much I already consumed.
Yes, I used to read Seuss with my halfway-full cup.
It’s now more half-empty since I have grown up.
And it seems that I’m drinking a bitterer drink
Since I’ve walked for so long with my brain in a think.
So what have I learned in this four-year long wander?
Well, just that there’s much more out there you can ponder.
There are roads down the road that you never will trail,
And roads on which danger and malice prevail.
There are people on doorsteps with nowhere to live
And people with money refusing to give.
Good men die fighting in battles each day
In a world where too many have fallen astray.
While cancer and AIDS are still seeking a cure,
The Janjaweed slaughter and rape in Darfur.
Although nations will battle and evil men rape,
The world is a clay ball we must learn to shape.
We’ll Race for a Cure, we’ll cook for the poor.
Vote peace over war and we’ll STAND for Darfur.
Yes, the glass is half-empty, but this is my juice.
And on I will go with direction from Seuss.
For I’ve learned just from growing, and grown as I’ve learned
That a glass that’s half full will now have to be earned.
So I’ll have to move mountains to fix the terrain
And see people bleed and feel people’s pain.
And one of these days I will see that my cup
Inexorably seems like it’s filled half-way up.
I then took a moment, my half-cup in hand
Simply surveying the lay of the land.
I saw I was standing up high on a hill
With miles behind me and more to climb still.
Pondering the paths I had opted to take
I wondered how many had been a mistake
Which steps I would unstep if I had the choice
Or I’d have protested had I had the voice.
But far up ahead I could see a new course
Whose promise outweighed any past path’s remorse.
And I knew that I stood in a suitable stance
And I would not undo it if given the chance.
Because what I have learned from my four-year-long stroll
Is that sometimes you have to let go of control.
You can’t waste all your time looking back in regret
At the things that you didn’t quite manage to get.
So I’ll take what I’ve got and march steadily on
For the roads I have walked are already bygone.
And what roads lie ahead? Well, that far I can’t see
But I’ll give you this much – it is best to walk free.
Yes, for tossing my compass, for tossing the rules
I learned that directions guide only the fools.
So I chose my own mountain, my own path I led,
Looking toward the horizon, I journeyed ahead.