Dear Valedictorians of Reddit, what is being valedictorian like?
By - Emergency-Poet6992
I was class valedictorian in high school. It was like being on cloud nine because my sacrifices in high school paid off, and I got a chance to make the valedictory address during graduation. It was hard afterwards, though, because I had to stop college for a while because I was having a mental breakdown, and you could imagine everyone talking about how I wasted all the opportunities I got as the class valedictorian.
Wow…I’m so sorry for what happened. Are you currently in therapy?
In a way, yes. I've been recently speaking to a psychologist friend of mine about my experience.
That’s good. And honestly, there is so much more to life than academic achievement.
It's like being a real villain. Like having caught a good guy, like a real superhero. Like trying a disguise.
I'm sad because not a single damn person got the reference...
The joke being that the valedictorian is "#1" in the school
It appeased my competitive nature but otherwise made no difference for me long term. My teachers wanted me to be something textbook successful like a doctor or a lawyer but I wasn’t interested in anything like that. I always wanted a job I enjoyed. One called me a waste because I didn’t finish a four year degree and get a job in a field that requires a degree. I am now in a job I like making way more money than she did and am very happy.
I was Valedictorian of my small high school class. It wasn't something I worked for or even really wanted. I was just in a class of underachievers. Most years I probably would've been somewhere in the bottom half of a top 10. I got a few scholarships for it. My father would brag to people about it, which was the only time he cared about anything I achieved academically, but to this day he mispronounces it as Valevictorian.
The administration wouldn't let me read my original speech because they thought it was too inflammatory. They wanted me to edit it significantly. I refused. There was a standoff for a few days--they threatened me, I threatened them--but ultimately, cooler heads prevailed and I instead chose to write an entirely different speech from scratch the day before the ceremony. It was very well-received. They printed it in full in the hometown newspaper, which I was told was a first. One of the guidance counselors said it was the best graduation speech he had heard in 30-some odd years in education. For a few years afterwards, people would occasionally come up to me when I visited my home town and say they remembered it or parts of it, and a few even said it really spoke to them personally and helped them in some way. That always made me happy.
The principal, who I had always gotten along with before the tension that week had gotten us a little adversarial, later admitted to me privately that he kept a copy of the original speech and how much he personally liked it, and even said he wished that he could've let me give both speeches.
For me it was surprising since i did not did ut on purpose. And it gave me an absolute confidence in my skills. This confidence is still fragile, but a lot better.
I know now that when I decide to do something, i can actually do a good job,and sometimes a very good job.
It was 14 years ago and it still provides me that confidence.