Column: finding closure


Stu Mair

Senior Jordan Toomey, pictured with her beloved vending machine, reflects on her years as a high school student.

Jordan Toomey, Staff Reporter

Editor’s note: This is the ninth in a series of farewells from some of the seniors on The Red Ledger staff.

I’ve been trying to write this goodbye column for several weeks now and I have erased every attempt, because nothing I wrote was good enough to be my final post on this wonderful website. So this is me, beginning my ninth attempt at saying goodbye to everything I’ve ever known.  

Closure and I have a very one-sided relationship, wherein I’m constantly seeking it and can never find it. I am someone who is afraid of change, and so much change is coming that I’m not really sure what to do. The last few weeks have been so packed full of activities and final exams (yeah I wasn’t exempt, oops) that I didn’t have time to process that the only life I’ve ever known will come to an end in seven days when I parade across a stage in a cheaply made black robe.

I don’t know what made it sink in today; maybe it was when I high-fived my newspaper teacher while walking out of his classroom for the last time. Maybe it was when I sat in Starbucks, writing a goodbye letter to my choir teacher, who has been a constant in my life for the last four years. Maybe it was the fact that I jokingly yelled “See ya never!” to my newspaper friend as she walked out of the classroom, and realized it was true.

Whatever the cause, my mental block about how fast my life is changing has fallen, and I am terrified.

I’m going to Collin next year, sure, but all my friends are leaving. I will never walk down the halls of Lovejoy High School as a student ever again. Though I never particularly enjoyed school, at least I knew what was coming every day when I got there. I have become used to the routine and the monotony of high school, and now that it’s almost over I genuinely don’t know what to do.

I don’t know how to be an actual adult; I don’t know how to go to college. I don’t know how to function without the safety bubble that comes with saying the words “I’m still in high school.” I don’t know how to wave all my friends, one by one, off to their respective colleges, and I don’t know how to tell my underclassmen friends goodbye.

You might be thinking, “Jordan, you literally aren’t going anywhere, you can see your friends whenever you want, and just because some are going away doesn’t mean you can’t stay close!” But things will never be the same with those people, and that is very scary and sad to me.

I just don’t understand how everyone is so OK with just leaving behind everything they built for the last four years. So many seniors have said the fateful words, “I can’t wait to get out of here,” and I just agreed, but the truth is that I’m not ready.

I have never been ready and I don’t think I’ll ever be ready, but life doesn’t really wait for anyone so I’m going – reluctantly, but I’m going. This column is not about how much I love high school because trust me –  I’m over it – but more about how every senior’s entire life is crumbling away to dust so they can rebuild it in another city, maybe even another state, and literally everyone seems to be okay with that except me.

Since I am leaving, though, I would like to impress upon you all a few things that I’ve learned from the past four years, aside from the fact that we have horrible water pressure in the bathrooms and the vending machine number for BBQ chips is A6.

First – if you don’t change in high school, you’re doing something horribly wrong.

If you lose friends, if you get your heart broken, if you do something way out of your comfort zone and regret it: congrats. You are living, you are changing, and you are actually making the most of your high school experience. Learn about the world we live in, form your own opinions, and stick to what you think is right. Do not let the Lovejoy bubble fool you; there is so, so much more out there than what you see.

Second – live in the moment.

Don’t spend your whole high school career stressing from one event to the next, because if you don’t stop and smell the roses, there’s no point in even growing roses. Don’t think of your time in high school as something to just get through, think of it as something you get to do, as something you get to experience. Life is spectacularly beautiful if you let it be.

Third – If you’re going through something, if you’re clinically depressed, if you’re self-harming, if your anxiety is limiting your life, there is help for you.

The counselors are in our school for more than just making schedules, and all of them are wonderful people. There is so much mental illness in our school – I am no exception – but, for everyone who thinks high school is the time to give up, it’s not. Like I said before, the world is big and there is so much out there for you to experience and feel and do. So, if you are struggling, don’t give up; I promise, the payoff is worth the battle.

So, this is the end. This is not me finishing a chapter, this is me finishing the book.

For those of you I have shared the last four years with, thank you for making me who I am. Whether I liked you or disliked you (trust me, you’ll know), you have made me the person I am today, and that person is someone I am proud of. I may be scared of change, and I may not be able to quite wrap my head around closure, but I finally managed to get through this entire column without erasing and starting over, so that’s something.

Thank you Red Ledger, for letting me write opinions this year, and thank you for this opportunity to say goodbye.

Thank you LHS, for taking the person I was and making me into the person I am.

And thank you, lunch line, for always having s’mores Pop Tarts.