As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I am going to divulge the details from my past, well since graduating high school, up until this point. This June marks my 4th anniversary as an Ohio U alum, and therefore I feel the need to look back on all of my Junes, beginning with June 2002- when I graduated from my alma mater, Hampton High School.
Let’s pretend that this is me. Juliet. Young, naive, innocent, fragile, hopeful, optimistic…but like Juliet, I had no idea what life had in store for me. Okay, this is a little far-fetched but at least it paints the idea, or if anything, this particular image portrays the 18-year old dreamer that I was at the time of my high school graduation.
From what I can remember, the Hampton High School Class of 2002 graduated on Friday, May 24th, or perhaps May 31st. We were supposed to have our ceremony at the football stadium (the first class to do so at HHS); however, the weather prevented that from happening. While I cannot remember every detail of that day, I do remember a period of time in the afternoon when I spend some alone time on my back deck, listening to Michelle Branch’s first cd and playing the song, Goodbye to You, over and over again. I still listen to this song and think about this memory. I was so down that day; overwhelmed by emotions; terrorized by the unknown. High school was far from the perfect time in my life, but I really felt like I was saying goodbye to who I was and everything that I had held onto for at least 4 years. I had an identity. I knew a lot of people, and a lot of people knew me. It was the last time though that I really felt like Kristen Medica. The last time in my life that I really knew who I was...and ironically I knew nothing at that time. Nothing except what I learned in The Hampton Bubble (what we called our hometown).
I should rewind and tell you that I was President of the Class of 2002 since my freshman year. In this position, I was blessed to be able to welcome everyone to the graduation ceremony, and also led the turning of the tassels at the end of the ceremony. I was a bit nervous beforehand, but having MC’ed the Senior Salute (talent show/farewell) a few weeks before, I was more comfortable speaking in front of the jam-packed audience and my fellow classmates.
It really is all a blur, especially being that it was 8 years ago; however, I can still envision many moments from that evening. The first being the greeting, where I looked out in the audience and felt proud to be the one fortunate enough to honor my classmates for their achievement. My second memory was later in the ceremony, during the passing out of diplomas. I believe that I was responsible for handing out roses to the female graduates and shake the hands of my male classmates after they received their diploma. This simple moment turned into a hug/love fest, and I’m still surprised at how many people I ended up hugging.
The most memorable moment though came at the end. Now I was granted the honor to initiate the turning of the tassels, but I really wanted to share this opportunity with the other Class Council members, Valedictorian, and Salutatorian…with a little help from the MVP of the Class of 2002, Kellen Wheeler. Just like at all our football games, Kellen let the 3,2,1 chant for the tassels to turn then caps were flying in the air.
Summer began with my Senior Trip to OBX in, which ended up with me being the only girl there. (Don’t judge. They were all friends, well at least that’s how I saw them.) And of course there was at least one graduation party every night- and I remember skipping a lot of them because with work it just proved to be too much. I also recall having a breakdown that summer, deciding that college just wasn’t for me…which caused a huge fight with my parents. Obviously they won out- my mom’s dream was for her kids to go to college since she did not have the opportunity to. Thank you, Mom, for not letting me give up on ‘your dream’.
The summer went by so fast as I worked as a Snack Shacker at the Hampton Pool (best job ever, minus 7 am bathroom cleaning duty) and ran around with friends- listening to a lot of Weezer and Dashboard Confessional- courtesy of the lovely Evan O’Rourke.
I actually think that the titles of these songs capture my Summer (of 2002) fairly well.
So you may or may not know this, but I ended up going to Kent State my freshman year (which is where I met Julie). Up until March of my senior year, I was going to OU but for reasons I won’t disclose, I ended up changing my mind and going to Kent instead. If it wasn’t for Julie then I’d probably identify this as a huge mistake; however I think it happened for a reason and made me appreciate OU more once I got there the following year.
June 2002 was my last summer as Kristen Medica from Hampton, or as least as I’m concerned. I’ll shed more light on this in the coming post, but after my first year of college, a lot of things quickly changed- some for the best. Not only did I finally break out of “The Bubble”, but I took the first step on my journey- whether I knew it back then or not. Part of me wishes I knew back then what I know now, but then again I doubt I’d be where I am today. Maybe that’s not a bad thing though. Maybe I’d be somewhere better? Anyways, no more woulda, shoulda, couldas, right?
At eighteen years old I was the definition of a dreamer, and I even wrote ‘dreamer’ on my wrist just like Michelle Branch has it written on her in the Goodbye to You video (tagged above). In those days I believed that the world was good, that people were good and could be trusted. And most importantly, I still believed in love. I believed that my bad luck with boys would soon change, and that the love of my life was in my near future (at Kent). Was I naive? Abso-f’in-lutely. But I’d also give anything to go back for a day and see the world through those rose-tinted glasses…believing that the world was good.