The Next Great Odyssey
High school is a journey--what have you taken away from your experience?
By Kristin Drew
November 23, 2007
“Sing in me, muse, and through me tell the story of the graduating high school senior about to embark upon her college odyssey.” –My modified version of Homer’s The Odyssey.
Homer made his epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey, unique by focusing on different characters and plots in each poem. But they’re cohesive because The Iliad lays the foundation for The Odyssey, the next great adventure. They depend upon each other to set the ultimate adventures in order.
As the soon-to-be college freshman, I see similar correlations in my life. Just as The Iliad set things in motion for The Odyssey, my high school has set me sailing for college, my next great odyssey.
I’ve never felt so excited in my entire life. Just as Odysseus felt relieved to go home after 10 strenuous years in the Trojan War, I feel exuberant relief in continuing my education in a different atmosphere. I am moving on to a vibrant campus at the University of Florida, where my opportunities are endless and I can cultivate new dreams and new passions.
However, Odysseus’ homecoming never presented an easy obstacle and as he dealt with deadly monsters, vengeful gods and clingy nymphs. His journey home required just as much work as the Trojan War. As I recently discovered, unfortunately, I already have summer reading to do for college. Therefore, I still need to continue the momentum of work from high school and continue taking rigorous courses in college.
In truth, an imminent shadow darkens my anticipation. I will miss my friends. This gloom reminds me of Odysseus’ visit to the Underworld. As the dead Greeks warmly greeted Odysseus, Odysseus knew that their relationships were different and never would return to the old ways of the Trojan War. When I received my fresh new yearbook, I noticed that all of my friends wrote the following words: “I’ll miss you”. As I read the comments, I realized that, like Odysseus and his friends, our lives will never be the same again.
Graduation was my moment of truth: I realized that my “Iliad” is complete. On this note, I decided that when I finish writing this column, I will officially close one chapter of my life and look forward to the new leaves of possibility.
While most things must come to an end, I will fondly cherish the memories and appreciate those who made my typical life feel very special. Despite this quilted blanket of various emotions, I am overwhelmed with another more promising concept: hope. The new hope of the college experience— my next great odyssey— lets me know that my life is about to start…and I’m ready to take that scary leap.