What is high school but a random group of students who share the same zip code? Before I answer this question, a disclaimer: for the purposes of this essay I am not talking about high school in the academic sense because I completely understand it’s value in teaching information that is necessary for life and in meeting teachers that share this information with us. I am talking about high school in the sense of socially defining and categorizing everyone for four years of their life. This is not okay!
I cannot share how many times I saw on TV, “High school was the best time of my life!” and to that I say, “How pathetic!” Let me share a little bit about my own experience in high school so far that might clarify my position. However, you might be surprised, it is not all composed of bad memories like you might be thinking right now.
I go to a private Catholic high school that I pretty much knew for 10 years I was going to be attending along with a guaranteed 70 other students from my grammar school. Freshman year I hid myself behind the books and got away without going to one single party. Trust me- this is how I wanted it. Then sophomore year I met some people who I thought were going to be my best friends for life. We had some pretty fun times. I remember being really happy and thinking: “I know why everybody loves high school, it’s because of this!” Junior year I continued hanging out with whom I thought were the coolest people in the world and studying really hard because, you know, junior year is the most important year of high school they say. It was during the summer between junior and senior year that everything changed.
I went away to Boston College for six weeks without knowing another single soul. I had the best time of my life! My roommate was like the sister I never had and we really had a good time together. I knew that she genuinely cared about me and my life just as much as I cared about hers. Things were perfect meeting all these new people from all over the world and discovering how much I actually had in common with them in regards to ideology, values, etc. It was so comforting to finally feel like I was understood! Not all of my realizations were so pleasant though.
Those friends that I thought I had back at home never called to see how I was doing. They never emailed or sent me a message on facebook asking how I was. When I got tired of them not asking, I would call home only to get a voicemail or a two-minute conversation. This is when I starting thinking that those people back at home were not really my friends. They only hang out with me because it gives them something to do, not because they actually enjoy my company.
I suppose that for most people this realization comes after high school when they will permanently be staying in college but I had to come home to these people! Not only that but I had to leave the people who became more of friends to me in six weeks than any person back at home. I cannot explain accurately enough the feeling of finally being in a place where you know you belong and then having to leave it. However, knowing this I decided to come home and catch up with my friends and try to look at them in a new light. I try to make myself believe that they truly care but I struggle with putting so much of myself into a “friendship” with somebody who does not even care enough to pick up the phone and give me a call.
My conclusion from this experience is that high school is overrated. It is filled with days of gossip about other people’s relationships and unnecessary drama. However, I will admit that high school is sprinkled with memories that I will never forget. Like experiencing another country without parents for the first time with a bunch of my friends and the coolest chaperones, or going to bon fires and laughing all night. I also know that I needed high school to learn things about myself through these good and bad situations. But honestly, I hope these will not be the best times of my life. I mean it comes to a point when I do not have to be told what size binder to buy and what each divider within should say. Sometimes I feel like high school holds me back from doing better things with my life, from learning things that I cannot be taught in school, from going out and helping people with my job everyday.
Maybe this is just a desperate wish from a solitary student, or maybe there is life beyond the gates of high school.
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