The End

Senior Dinner, when seniors are served dinner in a transformed Dining Hall, marks the beginning of the end for twelfth graders.We’ve been waiting for our Convocation and Senior Dinner since our first freshman pizza party in the gym four years ago.

Senior Dinner was immeasurably different from that freshman pizza party. Instead of a lack of seating, each senior had a seat assigned to him or her at a tablecloth- and flower-adorned table with silverware and a starter salad already laid out.

These differences serve to remind how far we’ve come in the past four years.

When the Class of 2015 entered Williston’s Upper School in the fall of 2011, Amanda Knox was about to be released from prison in Italy, Kim Kardashian was not yet married to Kris Humphries, and the country was gripped by the “Occupy” movement. Furthermore, UGG boots were still in fashion, and, believe us, freshman girls wore them happily.

This year’s seniors have survived a schedule change (Note to freshmen: don’t ask, it was too stressful to relive), a killer Halloween snowstorm that shut down the school, the popularity and (thankfully) the death of YOLO, along with the resurrection and digitalization of The Willistonian. We have grown as Williston has grown and forged a deep connection to its traditions and way of life.

Ezra Barnehama, the speaker at Senior Dinner, told the seniors: “In less than nine months you will walk across that podium in front of family, friends, and faculty and will have graduated from Williston.” That picture has remained in the forefront of the seniors’ minds all summer. Convocation served to make the idea of leaving Williston dauntingly concrete to many of us.

The idea of graduation is never completely sad, but it is never completely happy either. It is the perfect application of the word “bittersweet,” which, if you were wondering, has no synonyms. While that is a frustrating prospect for those of us who cling to thesauruses, it points to how unique this feeling is and how difficult it can be to deal with.

Bittersweetness can be confusing. As every moment seniors have long awaited comes to pass, the joy is tainted by an undertone of melancholy. Each happy moment reminds us that we are only allowed to call ourselves high school seniors for nine short months.

An important theme in Barnehama’s speech was recognizing the opportunity Williston provides us. The first week of school has reminded us of all that is available to experience here. Instead of wallowing in the sadness of having nine months left to walk across the bridge and climb three flights of stairs several times per day, let us rejoice in the experiences that still await us.

If there is ever an appropriate time to revive YOLO, it is now. Do not fear the loss of what is to come, but enjoy what you are experiencing each minute. Life is too precious to rush past or to regret, and after all, you only live once. That’s the motto.

So we will leave you with a thought without bitterness, one that is completely sweet. Opportunities surround you and experiences await you at every turn. Take chances, laugh often, and stop to notice how sweet life here truly is.