Last night at approximately 8:03, I crossed the stage in my royal blue robes, silver cord, white collar, and two medals. I was on top of the world. And why? Isn’t high school graduation just the same as 5th grade graduation? It’s not like I’m done with school forever, I’m going back for another four years in just a few month’s time. However, my thoughts have changed, and I’m coming to realize that this graduation- high school graduation- means growing up. I know we’re not supposed to think of it as “an end of an era”, but I do think of it that way. For me, it’s the end of not being taken seriously. It’s the end of being told I’m too young, and the end of feel inadequate in adult company.
Along with this new perspective on graduation, I have been dwelling on a closely related topic: ageism. Being a young person, I am not ignorant of the subject. How many times have I been told “You’ll understand when you’re older” or “You’re so nieve”? And it’s so frustrating because I know I’m not the only one who has received this treatment. Yes, maybe “older” is a synonym for “wiser”, but young people can be very bright. And of course, along with the bright come some equally dim, but don’t deny it- there are some very very dim adults out there as well. Particularly ones who would shove aside good advice and ideas simply because the speaker is younger than they are.
I have been eighteen years old for quite a few months now, and as of yesterday, I am a high school graduate. Legally, I am an adult, and I think it’s time for some respect and recognition for my opinions, thoughts, and knowledge. I shouldn’t have to be embarrassed to publish a post about my graduation. I shouldn’t have to brace myself for the condescending comments and thoughts of readers older than myself. I, along with all of the youth, should feel of some value, and should know that we offer a fresh perspective unable to be given by anyone else.