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Sudie Crouch: Here’s to a new school year
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Summer, as much as I loathe it, has gone by with lightning speed and while it felt like high school graduations were a nano-second ago, now I’m hearing how my friend’s children are starting their Senior year. 

For so many of us, our Senior year was 30 years ago. Or more accurately this past spring marked that 30 year mark.

Of course, in my mind, the Class of ‘91 was the best one ever. 

We had grown up during the ‘70s and ‘80s and the early years of the ‘90s felt so full of hope and promise of a bright future. It was the birth year of the internet and we had no idea how that would evolve. 

I’ve been seeing some people saying they hope this school is a bit better than the last one. 

Was it one or two? Honestly, things have run together so much the last 18 months that I am not sure. 

And I can totally get that. 

Our Senior year can be so special and it can really be tough when it’s not the year we want. 

I know. 

My 12th grade year was totally different than what I expected. 

I had planned — and Mama had paid for — to take my senior year in absentia, with me completing the remaining credits I needed through the University of Georgia. 

I had several reasons for wanting to do this, the main one being my grandfather had Alzheimer’s and it was getting progressively worse. He was in and out of hospitals and I wanted to be able to spend as much time with him as I could. 

My plan was off to a smooth start, with me finishing most of my classes over the summer. 

But, the first week when school started back, my mother received an unsettling phone call. 

I had already tallied five absences —unusual even for my school skipping self.

I went to the school and found out that my in absentia year wasn’t going to be honored and if I wanted to graduate, I would need to get in class. And Mama needed to pay the tuition — money she had spent on the classes from UGA. 

I didn’t know what to do. 

I was angry, my default emotion even then. I cried. I wailed. 

It was a rough 45 minutes. 

Then I asked Mama what we were going to do. 

“You’ve got to go to school somewhere,” she said. 

Did I really though? For someone who has been a professional student the majority of her adult life, I was perfectly fine with skipping this last year of school. 

So I went to the public high school and enrolled. 

Let me tell you something, this was one of the biggest changes I had encountered in my painfully sheltered life. 

My previous school had maybe a little under 300 students from kindergarten through 12th grade, and it was easy to know practically everyone. 

I had known most of my classmates since I was four years old. Fourteen years is almost literally a lifetime when you’re a teenager. 

I was terrified out of my mind. 

What if I didn’t make any friends? What if they didn’t like me?

I had always been a bit weird and introverted, but when someone’s grown up with you, they’re used to it. What if I didn’t find someone that understood my weird ways and oddities? 

Would the friends I grew up with still be my friends, or would I lose them because we didn’t have the experience of our last year and graduating together?

There were a lot of changes coming at me at once. And those that know me well will tell you I like change about as much as a finicky, high strung cat. 

But, I didn’t really have a choice. I had to finish my last year, so I just had to jump in there no matter how uncomfortable I was. 

Kids have had to do that in more ways than I can even consider since 2020. The things they have had to worry about recently make my fears pale in comparison. 

They’ve had their classes go online, then hybrid, and now, they’re back in the classroom for hopefully what will be a completely uneventful and mundane school year. 

Our teachers have had to adapt on a dime, too. 

Change can be a bit unnerving, especially when there’s so many things we don’t have any control over. 

My Senior year ended up being better than I anticipated, and in the end, I was grateful for the changes it opened up for my life. 

Even when things may feel like they are set up to be a tremendous obstacle, they can end up bringing some wonderful things into our life, that otherwise, we wouldn’t have even considered. 

Hopefully, this year will bring some of those fortuitous moments into our perspective.    

Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.