MAILING : P.O. Box 8, Los Olivos, CA 93441
Presented at Midland’s Graduation 2021
Class of 2021, we are fish.
We are fish.
When we first came to Midland, we were minnows cast into the ocean. The first time our class gathered together was right here on the field for a barbecue. Someone who is on the stage right now pointed over to that horse pasture and asked, unironically, if the horses were up for slaughter.
But once we developed some cohesion and Midland-competence, our class began to sparkle.
Midland hands its students a few key ingredients to happiness—24/7 exposure to friends, outdoors, the farm—but you’re on your own to make something of it. Therein lies our class’s success. We make the most of what we have. Practically every evening this past term, you could find a bulk of our class on the farm eating strawberries, because what possible reason could we have not to? Just two days ago on our senior trip, where others may have seen a tarp on the ground, we saw the perfect place to spend 3 hours all lying on top of each other in one large class of 2021 blob. Find another high school class that will have 100% participation in that. I’ll wait.
We embraced Midland’s values and ideas—some would call them downright lies—that we have been told in these 4 years. That hiking is fun. That the best way to spend a half holiday is to run to the garden decked out in trash bags to throw rotten tomatoes at each other. What were we thinking?
The result of our believing these ideas and lies is that we have thrived at Midland. Because here’s the thing about this place: Midland is the way it is, and to reject it guarantees bitterness and boredom at this time in our lives when everything should be exciting.
Our class, for the most part, avoided the Midland doldrums—when the strawberries are dead, the days are cold, and the homework is extensive—because we took what was given to us and made it exciting. When fish find themselves in less than ideal situations—maybe the water is too cold, or there isn’t a lot of food, or they’re stuck in some kelp, or a shark is trying to eat them, do they wallow in a vat of misery feeling sorry for themselves? No! They just live their happy fish lives. Again, we are fish. This year especially, Midland has stripped us of many of the nice things in normal life such that a smoothie—a smoothie—is the most exciting thing in the world. But we don’t let that bum us out. Instead, we all happily gather on the field and let the smoothies make our week.
Class of 2021, our idea of a good time is to stand in a circle in the dark. Every week, we look forward to club nights with excited vigor. But let’s talk about our club nights: a movie, maybe a brownie, maybe a sad pickup game of something resembling volleyball, and lots of, you guessed it, standing in a circle in the dark. Midland clubs nights really take the club out of club night. And yet we have fun.
I’ll reiterate: We work with what we have. And that is one of the most important life skills.
Because now, Midland has perfectly positioned to love even the most simple things beyond Midland. A cup of not-terrible coffee. A study session where nobody is watching our every move on our screens, sadistically waiting to assign us an hour of physical labor just for talking to a friend during status on google hangouts because they want to enforce good study habits even when you’re four year senior with good grades who’s 2 weeks away from graduation.
When we find ourselves in dull situations, we will give them shine.
As fish, we learned the waters and grew out of the minnow phase. Now, Midland has actually become something of a kiddie-pool. A piece of evidence: we took what I thought was a children’s song—Splish Splash, which I hadn’t heard since second grade—and made it something of an anthem for our class. A beautiful, albeit dusty kiddie pool, but a kiddie pool nonetheless.
We are men and women with enforced bedtimes.
Just think of the blissful freedom of normal life that we are about to enter.
I use the fish metaphor to say this: Class of 2021, when somebody references some variation of you being cast out into the deep end – a scary, unknown place that, in our case, applies to college – smile and think to yourself: I am a fish. I won’t drown in the deep end because I am a water breathing fish. I belong in the deep end.
Splish splash, class of 2021.
By Will Goddard ’21
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