4 years old. Somehow your parents forced you in this classroom. You’re sat beside this weird girl with red glasses. You’re bored.
Your teacher walks in with lots of sheets in her hand. “Good morning people! Today, we will be learning colors!”
7 years old. Sat on a wooden bench next to Weirdo Girl. She is reading while you’re struggling to get the alphabet in the right order. Fuck her.
The teacher comes in with thin books in his hands. “Good morning kids! Today’s exercice will be to learn how to write cursive A’s and B’s.”
12 years old. You got in junior high and you’re still next to Weirdo Girl. She’s your friend now, though. Your notebook is sitting on your table but you’re not paying attention.
The teacher wants you to answer his question. Something about maths. “Come on, it’s not hard: what is 12 times 11?”
15 years old. Last year, you passed your “Brevet des Collèges” and your parents were so proud. Weirdo Girl did too but she moved out of town so she’s not next to you anymore. It feels empty.
An old man comes in the room with exams in his hands. “Guys, these tests were awful. How did you not understand this simple formula?”
18 years old. Today is the day you know if you passed your “Baccalauréat”. You really don’t want to go to High School again. You wonder if Weirdo Girl passed. You’ll send her a text later on.
Your head teacher walks towards you with a severe look on her face. Doesn’t sound good. “Look… I guess all these years of class ACTUALLY changed something. You passed! Congratulations!”
21 years old. You are sat on a red velvet chair looking at Weirdo Girl’s graduation ceremony. She is the third in line to receive her diploma. The first two trip over their own words because of joy and happiness. But she doesn’t. When her time comes, she gets a couple of paper sheets out of her purse and starts reading.
“When you’re 6 and your parents tell you to get dressed to go to school, you run up the stairs, take out your fanciest dress, your best shoes, pick your schoolbag and kiss your teddy bears goodbye. But a few years later, you try your best to fake any disease that would allow to stay in bed. We all did, didn’t we?
Now, when you’re 14 and you’re about to be sat on an uncomfortable chair for 2 hours writing about World War 1, you don’t have time to fake anything. You try your best to remember what you learned, what you wrote again and again, what you read again and again, what you tried to learn in the bus on the way here. You’re freaking out but you’ll pass eventually.
When you’re 18 and you have your high school diploma in your hands you feel like your life can actually start. Well, that’s not counting your stressed mother screaming and yelling at you every single day: “What the hell are you going to do in September? I’m warning you mate, you’re not taking a gap year.” And so your first plan fails. “And I don’t want you to be jobless neither.” And so your last plan fails.
All of a sudden you’re in front of this huge wooden door about to start college. You now have your own flat… (“Are you sure you’ll be alright on your own here sweetheart? Don’t you want to stay at home for a few more years?”) your own bank account (“I’ll take that credit card of yours, thank you very much. I’ll give you 20 bucks a week for your own sake.”) and a beautiful beloved one (who your parents hate, by the way. “You’re too young for this.” and “Studies first, love next.”).
You didn’t believe them when they said that this will be your best years. You didn’t believe them when they told you that it would be fun. Yeah, studies are fun. As if. You didn’t believe them when they said you’ll miss them after a few weeks. Yet here you are, 2 days later, calling them and begging them to let you go home next weekend.
And today, you’re standing on this stage waiting for two things. One, me to finish talking. Two, you to receive your diploma. This piece of paper that took you three years of studying and lots of money to get.
Yeah, in case you’re wondering, you’ve been in this school for three years already. Three years of wearing a stupid uniform, waking up at 6 in the morning and going to bed at 11 at night. Hey, guess what, that’s not over yet. See you in the real world, guys. Three years of exams, retakes, re-retakes, teamwork, projects, you name it. Hey, guess what, that’s-oh yes it is, that’s over. Well, exams are over. Because where we are going, there are shit loads of teamwork to do, projects and whatever. You’ll wake up at 5 to catch a train and get home at 9 hoping there’s still something in the fridge.
If you’re lucky, your beloved one (probably not the same one your parents met a few years ago) have made dinner for you and waited for you watching TV. If you’re not, you’ll have to walk the dog before going to sleep and start again the next day.
Guys, you’ve been so hard on these studies but we all know you’re already missing it. We all are, I guess.
I’ll let you all into a secret. I woke up this morning and realized I’m 21 years old. I’m an adult. A full bloody grown-up. My journey towards diploma stops there. And God knows I wish it didn’t. I am going to miss sitting on a chair for 6 hours a day learning stuff. I’m going to miss going home and starting some work due for the next day. I am going to miss exams and retakes. I am going to miss this class, the professors, the days off, the days on, you name it. I’ll miss you guys. Might not be a lot but I will.
And now to all the youngsters sitting here wondering what the hell I am on about, believe your parents and older siblings when they tell you college is the best thing you’ll do (studies-wise).
To all the memories I’ll have and all the ones we’ll create. Study well.”
21 years old. Bloody Weirdo Girl.