‘The Final Chapter’ is the start of a new book

With high school coming to a close for many students, there will be additions of new responsibilities, freedoms and choices that will last with them for the rest of their lives. High school may have ended for them, but their futures have just begun.


The last piece. The last deep thought of one Jackson Self. In the last chapter of “no filter: the column.”
The most perfect things always come to an end. No matter what, conclusions are inevitable and high school is no exception. My four years are coming to a close and this is it. The end all be all: my legacy.
“Let me tell you this, the older you do get the more rules they’re gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin’ man, L-I-V-I-N,” (Wooderson, “Dazed and Confused”).
Growing up in this day and age is just so wonky. We’re numb to so many societal pains and overlook weaknesses, hurting ourselves later.
We have more and more rules put on us but we continue to ignore them. Maybe it’s for the sake of our own happiness, the most powerful invisible force in existence, or it could just be our teen angst fighting social norms.
If you think of your life as a TV Show, I would say the end of high school is the end of season two. It’s right after the writers fixed minor errors from season one but right before a major (seasons-long-lasting) plot point (or plot-points) begins. We decide where we go next in our lives after following all of these rules, but we do not decide what happens next.
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities,” (Albus Dumbledore, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”).
A lesson I heard for the first time early in my life: To put your best foot forward always, make good first impressions and don’t let your gifts define who you are. You can make your own future based on your decisions. But, I didn’t learn this lesson until long after I heard it repeated many times. I always tried to make the right decision. Sometimes I didn’t, and that’s growing up.
Better it happens now when I have time to learn and grow from it than later in life.
Sometimes people mess up and maybe they can’t be forgiven. That’s life. It’s unfair but that’s just how it is.
“Part of the journey is the end. What am I tripping for? Everything is going to work out exactly the way it’s supposed to,” (Tony Stark, “Avengers: Endgame”).
Writing this column makes me feel nostalgic. I don’t really know why but I am.
If anybody has had a conversation with me while they’re stressing out or I’m having one of those “Jackson Moments” you have probably heard me say before “It always works out.”
I believe in that statement maybe a little bit more than I should.
I get super nerdy when I think or talk about this. I think about time as a circle. A two-dimensional circle. It has already been and continues to go. Everything is already laid out the way it’s supposed to be, in a way, if that makes sense.
It doesn’t take away from our own free will but our decisions have consequences in time and we can’t go back to change them.
The end we meet has been set there for us. We just have to find a way to get from point A (birth) to point B (death). That’s where we have our free will.
For a quarter of the student body right now, college is just around the corner. Many in the senior class may feel scared or unprepared for life on their own. But you made it this far, what is preventing you from taking that next step forward?
I have experienced the invisible force of happiness in more ways than I thought possible. I’ve started trekking forward in my life to fulfill my dreams.
I am always trying to do better because I feel obliged to. I want to be an ally to my friends and family. I am ready to let go of my past to embrace the future.
The heroes (seen in these quotes throughout this column), as fictional as they may be, helped shape me to be who I am today.
Love or hate them, they’re a piece of me and I will always bounce back.
Face the music.
Find a way to live my life the way I want to, even if it means I lose the small battles. When the people around me leave or abandon me over differences and/or it was just our time to part ways I will still be here.
I will always be me, no matter what.
Captain Jack Sparrow said it best, “When you marooned me on that godforsaken spit of land, you forgot one very important thing, mate: I’m Captain Jack Sparrow,” (Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl).