24 August 2014

from your valedictorian

I don't think you understand
what it's like
to be me.
I have never been anything
except for an envelope
"To the parents of:"
stamped across the front-
my family's version of a fortune cookie
written in the language of
"How many A's did you get"
and whether or not my teacher wrote
"Excellent student"
"Pleasure to have in class."
Because they mean different things
and one is always better than the other
(and I have always been the other).
There is no life outside of academics for me:
 number two pencils and standardized tests
are all I have come to know.
I can't balance a checkbook,
but I can balance chemical equations.
So while I will never use that again in my life,
I do still have a number to carry with me,
more proof that I've succeeded.
Sometimes it feels less like I've triumphed over the test
and more like the test has won against me.
I feel like a slave, minus the ball-and-chain,
plus the desk-and-chair.
I have no knowledge of the world.
I have no way to acquire it.
I can name historical figures and significant dates
and write you a four page essay on how the Boston Tea Party
impacted the American Revolution,
but for the life of me,
I don't know what I would write on my resume.
School has defined my life-
academics has always been what made me special-
but soon
I'll be graduating.
So who will I be then?
Someone tell me
that they understand what it's like
to be me
I don't think I do.

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