Joel George’s Senior Reflection 2021

The Allegory of the Cave

High school is a cave of twisting caverns and winding corridors inhabited by 385 individuals, some strangers, some friends, and an unstable prowling bear. 

Upon arrival-time, the cave is dark and unfamiliar. Eventually, your eyes adjust; you get up and begin to investigate the terrain and community.

Sometimes, because of the exploration and camaraderie, the cave is fun. Still, dealing with a hungry bear can be quite exacting. 

At times, it is kind. It gives fuzzy hugs and tells entertaining tales. It sits you down and teaches you the wonders of existence, from how to titrate a force diagram to how to differentiate anti-trust policies. 

Other times, the bear is vexing and ravenous. It leaps from the dark to devour time and health, should it be able. 

Many of those times, it accidentally teaches its most important lessons. For instance, it teaches that sleep is a rare, if nonexistent, occurrence. Partially because you’re afraid that if you let your guard down, the bear will eat you. Partially because you want to take advantage of what freedom there is and see the other cave-dwellers. And why shouldn’t you?

After all, it’s oftentimes  those people who make or break the cave experience. Some you’ve known them all your life; most you met under the speleothems. Some are cronies; most are acquaintances. Either way, they are essential. At their most practical, they help pick fresh moss and stand watch for the carnivorous cretin. Other times, you sit in the corner of the cave and eat said moss, talking Star Wars, politics, and spilling soup all over the floor. And then there are all the dum conversations you have walking through the cave halls that ruin timeliness and composure.

But few times are eternal. Eventually, a boulder rolls back, and shafts of light jump into the cave. The 385 walks out, many to enter a different cave inhabited by different creatures; others to conquer disparate habitats. As the 385 depart, the vanquished bear lets out a solemn howl, lays down, and falls asleep.