The senior class this year decided to put up paper bags with every senior’s names on them so that people can write messages and put them in. After midnight yesterday, we were able to read the messages. I mostly smiled. The letters and messages were very nice.
Today, after graduation, Alison gave me a letter with the instructions to not open it until Monday. I asked her if I could open it on Sunday. She agreed. Now, I’m dying to know what’s written inside. With an instruction like that, I can’t WAIT until Sunday. UGH. I’ve read every single letter from everyone else, but there’s still one to be read.
I guess the entire graduation experience didn’t quite hit me until I said goodbye to the Housekeeper who is in charge of the second floor of the main building. I thanked him for all his hellos and smiles and his high fives. Then I cried like a baby in front of him. Nobody else was around. I guess you know this place is a home when you know the housekeeper that well. He has been such an inspiration during my time here and I cannot thank him enough for everything that he’s done.
But that doesn’t mean I’ll only miss him. After that, I tried to keep a smiling face for the rest of the people I hugged and kissed. It was a good experience. There’s a silver lining to it, you know? I’ll miss this place tons. It has been my true home for the last four years and for the most part, I will never see these people ever again. And especially, I will never see any of these people in the same context. I’ll never been able to walk to english class with a bagel in my hand with a friend or complain about double period french class during chapel. I honestly loved this place. Every vacation, I kept myself alive knowing that I’ll be back at the Academy. I knew that within a certain time, I’ll be back to the place I love, the place that welcomes me, the place that hugs me. Every morning I woke up at the Academy, I told myself that I was happy. I was genuinely happy. I can’t say that about every place. At the same time, I’m glad that it happened. I will cherish these memories forever.
Last night, some of my friends and I went up to the roof of the main building. Then explored the tunnels underground. Then climbed a tree. Then went stargazing. All in one hour. I wanted to be able to say that I really took advantage of the Academy and explore every place possible. Students aren’t technically allowed on the roof or in the tunnels, but I told myself that it was my last day and YOLO. I NEEDED to see those places.
Then this morning, Alison, two other friends, and I went down to the lake at around 7:15 to jump in for the last time (my last time). They came into my room to wake me up and we went down. Then we showered in the boathouse….all together (in the same stall, but no, we’re not crazy. It was quite awesome). Then breakfast. Then graduation. Jumping into the lake was the last thing I ever did at the Academy as a student. It was worth it. I loved this last experience.
But yeah, after graduation, as I left campus for the last time, I wrote one last letter in the car. One special letter. Guess who it’s to?
Thanks for reading,
Victor T. Paulsen.
PS- Today, I made a donation to the Academy. If you go to its film department, you might see a very large, framed Star Wars poster with George Lucas’s autograph on it. That’s from me, to you.