Oh, The Places You'll Go! by Sigrid Sköldberg

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!


by Natalia Tapia, United World College Maastricht
4th June, 2020


Congratulations!

Today is your day.

You’re off to Great Places!

You’re off and away!

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You’ll get back the brains in your head

Cause’ the IB has come to end.

You can steer yourself

Any direction you choose.

You’ll walk your own path… As long as social-distance allows.

Graduating class of 2020, possibilities have infinite boughs

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You’ll look up and down the streets. Look em’ over with care.

About some you will say, “I could change something here.”

With your head full of brains, and your characterizing esprit,

You’re too smart to brush off the lessons from YSE.

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And you may not find any

you’ll want to work up.

In that case, of course,

You’ll head straight to UWC Alumni.

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It’s TOK there

in the wide open air.

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Out there things can happen

and frequently do

to people as brainy

and espritsy as you.

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And when things start to happen,

Don’t worry. Don’t stew.

Go on, lost boy.

You’ll start to be found.

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                 OH!

THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!

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You’ll be on your way up!

Flying away from the moat!

You’ll be seeing great sights

Just like tall Paul!

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Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.

Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

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Except when you don’t.

Because, sometimes, you won’t.

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I’m sorry to say so

but, sadly, it’s true

that alumni crisis

and its aftermath

can happen to you.

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You’ll come out of the bubble

And be thrown into the world.

And the chances are, then,

that you’ll be in trouble.

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And when you’re in trouble,

you’re not in for much fun.

Un-troubling yourself

is not easily done.

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Do you dare to break out? Do you dare to speak up?

How much can you lose? How much can you win?

You can get so confused

that you’ll start in to race

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Running like when you’re late for check-in,

over Frankenstraat at a break-necking pace.

Grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,

headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…

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…for people just waiting.

Waiting for November session,

or clarifications from IB, or a plane to go

or acceptance letters to come, or the covid to go

or the phone to ring, or restrictions to soft

or the waiting around for a Yes or No

or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone is just waiting.

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NO!

That’s not for you!

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Somehow you’ll escape

all that waiting and staying

You’ll find the bright places

where Boom Bands are playing.

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Except when they don’t

Because, sometimes, they won’t.

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I’m afraid that some times

you’ll play lonely games too.

Games you can’t win

’cause you’ll play against you.

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And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance

you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.

There are some, down the road between hither and yon,

that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

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But on you will go

though the weather be foul.

On you will go

though you sneak-out and prowl.

On you will go

though the swans and cranes growl.

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On and on you will hike,

With Brian for the international award

and face up to your problems

apart from proving your CAS.

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You’ll get mixed up, of course,

as CCTV is checked now.

So be sure when you step.

Step with care and great tact

and remember that Life’s

a Great Balancing Act.

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And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

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KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

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So…

be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray

or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,

You’re off the Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So…get on your way!

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I was in a daze while getting ready for grad at five in the morning. Stupefied because the ceremony, forced to take place in Zoom, was finally happening. Ever since I left our campus, I felt like the hated coronavirus took away my right to cry. It was too much happening, all at once. I left my DP2s with the uncertainty of when would I see them ever again. And I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been for the DP2s themselves…

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I am not going to talk about the past couple of months, because for me they remain as a dizzy picture with too many unexpected goodbyes. But I want to refer back to our time together when “normality” was present on our campus.

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From the moment that I crossed the bridge during summer school, or when I crossed it again at the arrival of DP1s, to the moment when my DP2s were the ones helping me to pack. I am so thankful for all the time in between. For every time you took me to the store, or when you taught me how to use the weird mop. For every conversation in the common room, or for the times we skipped mensa and ate pasta instead. For all the floor nights, and the community gatherings. For every time we went to the city, to all the times we ordered Siba.

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When I arrived to campus, I wasn’t sure of what to expect. And I was pleased to meet such amazing people. And I know it sounds cheesy to say so, but honestly, you are the most incredible humans I’ve ever met. I continuously learned things form you, with ranges all over the spectrum. It could be how to live independently, to ways to destress from the IB with silly jokes. And how to not mention the deep conversations about the issues in the real world. Your generation is one of a kind, starting with the fact that you are the first one to graduate in unprecedented circumstances, blooming to the world in the midst of a pandemic. 

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This is my way of saying thank you for everything we went through. I wish you all the best, on whichever road you take. And it goes without saying, that we love you with all our hearts, and we will miss you beyond words.

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