Today I graduated from high school, and this is not a statement that I take lightly.

About half of my family members dropped out of high school because they were tired of dealing with constant homework and berating teachers, and I thought that I was going to end up following in their footsteps: drop out, get my GED, get a job in a restaurant, start a family, and end up keeping the same job for the rest of my life because jobs that do not require a higher education are very limited.

When I dropped out at the beginning of what was supposed to be my senior year, I knew that I was making a mistake but it also didn’t seem like I had another option. I was hearing the words “well dropping out is always an option” from friends, family, and even my therapist. There was nobody saying, “Christina, you can pull through this.” I had good reasoning for dropping out though: I was having several seizures a day with full body convulsions, my old high school pretty much kicked me out and going to an online high school made me miserable, my mental health had deteriorated, and there are so many other things that I could pile onto this list. I figured that if I got a GED, I would be doomed to a life of wishing I had finished and graduated with all of my friends. If that had happened, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post.

In the year that I dropped out, I learned quite a few things that you can’t be taught in high school. School is important and having good grades will get you far in life, but memories with friends are equally as important. I learned how to navigate a toxic friendship and what healthy friendships look like. I was able to stop hurting myself for just over 13 months and now I’m working to break that record. I grew as a person and that’s something I will never regret.

When I decided to go back, I felt something shift in the universe. With school came things to fill my day instead of browsing Tumblr and watching YouTube. My mom starting grilling me over homework and exams, but it was my friends that helped carry me through.

Now that I have finally graduated, jobs will be easier to find. I won’t have family members look down at me as the former straight-A student that dropped out because I was too lazy to do the homework” when it was an entirely different case. This is a piece of paper that so many of my family members will never have and that is liberating to know. Big changes are coming in the future, and this piece of paper is why.


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