A Year of Endings and Beginnings by Lauren Morley, Year 13 Student Kaipara College

The Beginning - Lauren's first day of school

It’s a strange feeling, going into your year of ‘lasts.’ The year when everything is coming to an end, but simultaneously, everything is also beginning. I know it’s cliché, but you really do wake up one day and realise that you’re no longer eight-years-old, playing in the backyard with your friends on the trampoline, stuck in an infinite loop of jumping up, down, up, down. But instead, you’re about to turn 18 and suddenly it’s time to jump forward. Forward into adulthood, into responsibility, into student loans, voting papers, first homes and first real jobs — careers.

I guess we all really should’ve listened to those old ladies your parents would bump into in the supermarket. The ones who would lean down, pinch your cheek, look back at your mum as they say, “they’ll be all grown up before you know it,” as you stand there, rolling your eyes, wondering why your mum didn’t get that cereal you love so much.

As I am entering my final year of high school, it’s becoming increasingly clear how important it is to appreciate every minute of every day. February 7th, 2023 will be my last first day of school ever. Then, in about ten months’ time, I will be experiencing my last day of school ever. I will walk through those doors for the last time with the entire world out there to be explored. It’s a fairly surreal feeling, knowing that it’s almost all over. From the age of five, we adjust to this regimented system. The one where we go to the same place every day, see the same people every day, and learn the same subjects every day. But soon, the possibilities of ways to spend our time are endless. If we want to jump on a plane and fly halfway around the world, we can. If we want to pack up our bedrooms and move cities, we can. If we want to become teachers, politicians, engineers, designers, farmers, or lawyers - we can. Anything is possible.

So as I am entering this final year of schooling, like any other person my age - there is absolutely no doubt that I will continue to count down the days until my so-called “freedom.”

However, I will also be taking a moment every now and then, to appreciate this time in my life. To appreciate my education and the people who dedicate their time to helping me through it. To appreciate my friends and all the people that I am sharing this experience with. To appreciate the town, the country and the world we live in. The world which will, very soon, be wide open.

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