Like most who are able to complete the rigorous four years required of them from high school, my rapidly approaching graduation did not come without struggle. All manner of problems from social to academic and extracurricular have tried their best (and at times succeeded) to derail my life until I came crashing down in a full 90 degree nosedive. This is of course to be expected in high school however; we meet face to face with over-whelming odds, we best them, and we move on. It is no big deal really though, we just all do what we have to do. At least, this is what I thought.

It only took me four years, give or take a few weeks, to realize that the challenges that not only I but almost all my fellow student body faces, are a whole lot more than just what we have to do. It is a tremendous deal, and an impressive achievement no matter who the student is. All my time at Malden High School, all the tests, the club meetings, the uphill struggle against procrastination, it all actually meant something.

Okay, now maybe some would say “Well, duh!” but this took me a long time to actually realize. Personally, my own accomplishments have seemed to go as far as I could imagine, and the impact of these events is what seemed to have such a delayed impression on my mind. I got accepted to every school I applied to, managed to get through the college process without tearing my hair out, and even got accepted into the honors program of a relatively competitive school. These of course did not come without setbacks either (failing the easiest math placement test at said competitive school, ouch) but ultimately it is safe to say I am allowed to feel pretty good about the way things are going.

The funny thing is, for a while when I recalled these events, I shrugged them off as if they were no big deal. Accepted into college? Yeah of course. With a great cost of attendance? Yeah you’re supposed to do that. Honors program? Cool. I do not think it was so much ignorance or cockiness that lead me to these unenthusiastic conclusions, but rather the preconceived notion that yeah, this is what I was supposed to do, and should not make a big deal out of it. Everyone goes through these motions.

It was not until just over a week until graduation, that the real gravity of what I had done had hit me. Now this is not to just toot my own horn; I understand that many have greater accomplishments than mine and I am lucky to have what I do, but I think many students (myself included) really have to stop brushing off our own accomplishments, and take pride in what we have done. Because really, what most if not all of us have done as graduating or nearly graduating students, is amazing. The feats we have been able to accomplish, athletic, academic, or otherwise, are feats that we should be proud of, and we have earned the right to be proud of!

This is an extremely important sentiment to not only understand and hold onto now, but to proudly wear as we as MHS students move on to the next chapters of our lives, whether it be college, the workforce, the military, or even another year of high school. We as students are not just doing our jobs, we are accomplishing pretty amazing things. It is about time that we all started giving ourselves a little more credit for what we have been doing. Now get out there, and change the world.

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