Words on words: Doctor’s orders — Dr. Seuss, that is

art+by+Alice+Yu

art by Alice Yu

Alice Yu

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]heodor Seuss Geisel, more commonly known by his pen name Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts to Theodor Robert and Henrietta Seuss Geisel, two German immigrants. Even though his childhood overlapped with the turmoil presented by World War I and Prohibition, his parents were still able to provide stable childhoods to Geisel and his sister, Marnie. Geisel later went on to graduate from Dartmouth College and attend Oxford University in England.
There, his love for illustration and cartooning far surpassed his thirst for knowledge and he stopped his studies, but not before meeting and marrying his first wife, Helen Palmer. Unfortunately, Palmer passed away in 1967 and Geisel married his long-time friend, Audrey Stone. By the end of his life on September 24, 1991, he received two Academy awards, two Emmy awards, a Peabody award, and the Pulitzer Prize.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” —Dr. Seuss”

The end of this semester sneaked up on me. The truth hit me like a wrecking ball when I returned from Thanksgiving break and realized I didn’t have as much time as I thought before my finals. And then it dawned on me—I was only one semester away from graduating.
Sure, senior year is supposed to fun and exciting. It signifies the end of the 13 years spent slaving through a system of assignments and tests and a train load of busy work. But to me, it also signifies an end to childhood and innocence. It means that I’m one semester away from being thrown into a university much larger than my high school of roughly 2,000 students. I’ll be in classes where some professors don’t care if you have a 104 fever; they’re not giving you an extension and they’ll refuse to baby you (which truthfully, is sometimes for the better).
I’ll no longer be in the same city as most of friends for the majority of the year. It will no longer be a matter of walking to a different wing to see a friend; getting together will call for miles upon miles of transportation. I don’t want to admit it, but I know some of my friendships will dissolve under the influence of distance. There’s no doubt that there are some people I’ll see for the last time this spring and not even know it. As I face the ambiguity of the future and feel the pull of past memories, what can I do but feel despondent?
But I guess that’s the thing. The fact that my past gifted me with so many beautiful memories keeps me smiling. To know that I am a better person because of teachers I had and friends I made amplifies my feelings of love and drowns out the urge to break down in hopes of freezing time.
To my fellow seniors—whether or not you look to graduation as a beacon of a new, improved life—as we close out another year, let’s welcome a new year that will no doubt hold surprises, good and bad. Stop all the countdowns to graduation and turn down the yearnings to return to the tender age of simpleness and innocence.
From homecoming to prom, from applying to college to getting your acceptance letter, from your first day of school to the day you put on your green cap and gown, you know better than anyone everything you’ve gone through—friendships, heartbreaks, epiphanies, disappointments, successes, surprises. The greatest thing? We all still have one more semester to cherish our time with our friends and teachers who are there before and after school to serve our needs.
We have one more semester to live in the cocoon of what we know, an educational system some of us have been in for almost 13 years. We have one more semester before we enter a new playing field with so much more to offer.
As we all cross into a new year and continue uncovering our own ambiguous futures, please always remember to say, “I love you,” to people you care about. As we’re all nearing graduation—just some sooner than others—the people in our community will never be the same. Some might be going to the coasts, others just a few doors down. The time we have left is precious; don’t let your excitement for a new chapter destroy your appreciation for the remainder of your high school years. Remember your roots but look forth toward the unknown.
In this game of life, we’re only just beginning. There will come a time when we won’t even remember the date of our graduation. There will be a time when our body finally shows the ravages of time and aging. Even then, it’s not time to cry for all that you’ve lost. It’s a time to remember all the memories you have, all the steps you’ve taken, all the mountains you’ve conquered, physically or mentally. Call upon the feelings to your firsts—first love, first job, first solo trip. In the words of a man who changed some of our childhoods, let us call upon his words once again as we walk further and further away from our age of youthfulness. “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
art by Alice Yu
What is one of your happiest memories from this year? Leave a comment below!