The Next Step 

Monday, August 26, 2002 was the day it started for the most of us. The day we woke up early in the morning, meeting our wake with that of our parents. The day we looked up at our clocks with confusion, as we were used to seeing the numbers “6 3 0” during the evenings. Some of us knew what that day meant, and they were appropriately ready for it. However, there were others who had no comprehension of what was happening as their parents told them to get in the car. And right before our eyes, we saw the other kids walk into this dungeon of a building, with ourselves not trailing too far behind. And as the clock reached to 9 on its minute hand on the seventh hour, thus started our school career. 
Fast forward to the Elementary school reunions. For many, it was the first time in nearly a decade we stepped foot into that place. Seven entire school years, summers, winter breaks. Seven entire years of not only life, but perhaps the most important time of our lives. Now we step foot into the place that helped start this insanity. What once was a labyrinth for us now became nothing more than a mere hut. As we looked in utter disbelief of how little we thought of ourselves then, we now looked on of how little we thought of that place now. Then there come the faces, of which hadn’t been seen since middle school. Some of those old, familiar faces might be those of whom you’ve shared childhood-defining moments with, but as time went on, distances grew. As we look around and see old friends and teachers, laughing and reminiscing, we start to remember that fateful Monday morning. 
We didn’t know what we were getting into then. We weren’t thinking about the next thirteen years of our lives. We weren’t wondering whether or not we’d be ready for what was to come in the next decade and a half. I don’t even think it is possible for anyone to physically, mentally, or emotionally prepare themselves for such a journey. The all nighters, the morning afters, the secluded weekends with nothing but you and a book. The irrational yet rational fear of not knowing whether or not all of this would pay off. You can’t brace yourself for loss, negligence, or heartbreak, as you know deep down, that the only course to take is to carry forward. 

However, it is also impossible to brace yourselves for the triumphs. All the nights out with the best of friends, the football games, the Homecomings and Proms, and all the trips that have made you so infinitely grateful to have made it this far. Many of us are now going to into our own paths, paths of which hopefully bring victories to us all. We don’t know what to expect from these next four years, just as we didn’t know what to expect from the last thirteen, but look at us now: we turned out fine. We found a way to move past the the distress and turmoil during the most important phase of our lives, using our wit and will towards triumph. 

And we can continue to achieve great happiness, even if there are times where we didn’t know what the hell to do. We’re bound to meet new faces and make new memories that we’ll never forget for the the rest of our days.

This day has been a long time coming, a chance to make something of our lives. We have everything in our power to achieve our dreams, with only one question: 

What will we do to win?

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