It’s been a little over two weeks since I walked across a stage, hugged my friends, accepted my diploma, and became a high school graduate. This post, therefore, is pretty long overdue.

So, first, what’s graduation like, and what is it like being a high school graduate?

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Graduation, a full week-long ordeal, is a time of parties and joy and nostalgia. Everything is happening all at once, and it’s both exhilarating and terrifying. It’s sad because you know you will never do certain things ever again, but exciting because you have even more to look forward to. Yearbook entries bring tears, as do mass two a.m. Facebook photo uploads. You finally realize that all of your hard work thus far has paid off, especially since college and internships are mere weeks away. It means that, other than working a little, you can rest, breathe, like some crazy extended weekend that belongs to you.

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During this “time of rest,” I’ve been able to watch so many movies and read so many books that I didn’t have time to before. Yesterday, for example, I watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, in honor of June 5th being his actual “day off” thirty years ago. Somewhere around the part where they bust Sloane out of class, it finally sunk in: I’m no longer in high school.

I will no longer run around school delivering boxes of cinnamon rolls instead of going to class, have people throw tennis balls down the hall over my head, or narrowly avoid getting hit by outrageous bouquets of birthday balloons. (These things all happened to me at least once in the last month of high school alone.) I won’t be attending any high school parties in the Valley like Cher. I won’t be seeking revenge at the home basketball game on any two (or three) timing boyfriend like John Tucker. And I won’t become famous in high school for accidentally publishing my journal, like Jamie Bartlett. No musical numbers in the cafeteria, no plaid skirts and headbands.

Watching Cameron stare at Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (a painting that I would love to see in real life too), I also realized this: so many of my favorite movies take place in high school. So many movies that I love, have grown up with, can quote like the back of my hand, run to when I need them. They’ve taught me lesson after lesson, introduced me to so many characters that I have grown to admire and relate to. I love them. But I no longer share this stage of life with them.

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As soon as I realized all this, I also knew: it’s okay.

These movies are still valid, still applicable. They always will be. Not only are they mostly classics, but they have shaped who I am today. I have laughed with Olive, flipped my hair like Cher, cried with Charlie, hated my friends like Winona, studied like Kate, and been reckless with Ferris. And every time I watch them, with their big “musical numbers for no apparent reason,” I will remember what it felt like to be in high school. I’ll remember what I was going through when I watched these films, what my favorites quotes and scenes were and why. I’ll remember the music and punchlines and laugh five minutes too soon. I’ll think of them, and high school, fondly.

 

I don’t know what the future holds, don’t know what adventures and mishaps may come my way. But if these movies have taught me anything, it’s that I’ll make it through whatever challenges I may face. My hair may be a little singed, but everything will be alright in the end.

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Without further ado, here are my Top 12 (…and okay, yes, I was going to do Top 10 but couldn’t make up my mind…) favorite movies set in high school~

Heathers (1988)

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Clueless (1995)

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The Breakfast Club (1985)

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10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

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Easy A (2010)

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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

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Mean Girls (2004)

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Sixteen Candles (1984)

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She’s The Man (2006)

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Freaky Friday (2003)

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Read It and Weep (2006)

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

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