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Life after High School

Rebecca D'Angelo

Publication: TheDay.com

Published June 29. 2010 6:24AM   Updated June 29. 2010 6:29AM

Back in September, I made a list of the assumptions my 7-year-old self had about life as a senior in high school. As you remember, they were based on my addiction to '90s teen TV dramadies.

But, now that I think about it, throughout my nine months of blogging, I never once mentioned how I expected the end to that senior year – you know, actually graduating from high school – to feel.

On June 18th, I went through the whole shebang. Turns out, the entire experience was all very…sweaty. Seriously. Whoever designed nylon robes to be worn in June is so not on my Awesome List. (For inquiring minds: The inventors of Nutella and Watermelon Jolly Ranchers are.)

In all seriousness, though, the graduation ceremony was fairly exciting; at times, very fun, and at other times slightly tedious. But never boring.

I appreciate the concept of graduation in general – that is (in my words, anyway) “recognizing that everyone made it out alive and highlighting what they did along the way.” So, if I had to choose a “favorite moment” from the entire ceremony, I don’t think I could. Improving my singing has been a major personal goal for me over the course of the past year, so performing the Star-Spangled Banner with a small a capella ensemble was certainly rewarding. Speaking to my class, and on their behalves, was also totally awesome. It was fun, and a great capstone – or mortarboard, rather – honor.

Oh. And while we’re on the subject, just a quick word of advice to any other potential student graduation speakers out there: When presenting a graduation speech, don’t make any sudden moves. This may result in the graduation tassel getting caught in your mouth, which may lead to choking, dying, embarrassment, or other unfavorable endings. Not that I speak from experience, or anything. But, I think it’s good advice. Just sayin’.

Though I never voiced it, I suppose if I had one expectation about graduation, it was that I would feel a certain sense of finality when I received my diploma. I didn’t really feel that during the ceremony. I mean, I felt a great sense of finality and relief when I handed in my last assignment of my entire high school career the week before. But it was the “Phew! I’m done with school!” sort of feeling. Not the “Wow, I’m done with high school!” sort of feeling. I don’t think it will really hit me until I’m totally situated in my UConn dorm room in the fall.
    
Until then, I am thoroughly enjoying life after high school. A few days ago, I was thinking back to my initial blog, and wondering why I never made a list of my childhood expectations about the post-high school world. Then I realized it was because that list would have been highly and unfortunately influenced by my frequent exposure to All My Children and One Life to Live as a kid.

Anyway, my summer is currently divided among the following activities:

(1) Working at the Mystic Seaport on the Demo Squad
(1a) Gaining killer muscles as a result of such work
(2) Continuing my research work with the Mashantucket Pequot Museum
(2a) Pretending to be Indiana Jones while conducting said research
(3) Going to the beach to improve on the highly attractive UPS-Guy tan I’ve developed from the above-mentioned activities, namely Activity (1).
(4) Solving the great mysteries of the world including (a) what happened to the lost colony of Roanoke and (b) the lyrics to “Louie Louie,” as per my sister’s request.
(5) Sleeping. A lot.

And, most of all, getting to spend some quality time with my immediate and extended family for the first time in, like, a million years.

You see, I think of my experiences over the course of the last four years of high school, and the 14 years before that, in terms of the family I’ve gained during them. I was born into a wonderfully funny, fun, intelligent, and extremely supportive biological family.

At school, I gained a family of close friends – and mentors. Through my work with the Mystic Seaport, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, the Connecticut Archaeology Center, the Chorus of Westerly, the Westerly Hospital, the Westerly Airport Association – and the list could go on –my family has grown to include some of the most intelligent, creative, and talented individuals I have met and will ever meet in my lifetime. And when I go off to UConn in the fall, my extended family will continue to grow.

This blog began nine months ago as a result of the best accidental Facebook-“friending” incident of my life. It has allowed me to build upon the relationships I’ve already built in ways I could never imagine. Through it, I have gained a whole new family: that is, the collective group of readers who sacrificed countless minutes of their lives to read my weekly (or bi-weekly, or monthly) ramblings. I thank you all for putting up with my cheesy puns, and for making me feel like I had something worthwhile to say.

And, of course, I would like to extend an enormous thank you to Elissa Bass for giving me the opportunity to write this blog. And for putting up with me every time I spelled “Web site” wrong in my postings. Oh, and for believing me when I told her I wasn’t a creepy stalker when I kind of-sort of-accidentally “friended” her on Facebook.

And so, my friends, the pilot would like to inform you that our blogging journey has come to an end.

Thank you for flying with Rebecca D’Angelo. You are now free to move about the cabin. 

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