(1) I'm really good at learning.

(2) I'm really bad at school.

Unless (2) comes incidentally from (1), that is. I love the atmosphere of a school, the resources, the people, the environment, the opportunities. I'm very bad at following the requirements now. I'm trying to get back the ability to buckle down and check off boxes I may not think I'm learning from, but it's an uphill battle.

If you told me a few years ago that I'd be doing poorly in classes, thinking about dropping out ("but Gill, it's not like I have finals or anything else I'll learn content from") and being really happy and learning and still completely in love with school, I would have laughed at you. I love school so much that it's very difficult for me to be in school, knowing what it could be and seeing what it actually is.

So this is my real final exam: Stay. Stick it out. Find a way to love the checkboxes, a way to make them something that you love. Be responsible. Follow through. Fit in with the standard a little, not because you should be like the standard, but because you still need to communicate with it. Learn how to live as an adult in this world, and graduate. Instead of running away, turn around and try to change the situation.

And with that, my diploma transforms from a rubber stamp to a meaningful rite of passage.

This is one of those posts that I'll look back on and laugh at years down the road.