I grew up in a small, semi-rural town in Texas. So, there are certain things that come as a kind of given. There definitely were kids that wore boots, jeans, and button ups EVERY day. Homecoming, and those Friday night lights were a big deal. People here are passionate, opinionated, and usually pretty vocal about it.
When you get close to graduating, everyone tells you to cherish it. That you’ll miss it when you’re gone. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t miss it. At all. I am being completely honest when I say, there is nothing from high school I wish I could get back. However, I did learn a lot and I loved a few things about it.
The first thing I should talk about is obvious if you know me – extra curricular activities. I participated in choir, debate, show choir, agriculture for a brief period, one act play, technical theater, theater productions for a semester, and one of the fall musicals. That may not sound like a lot, but I had virtually NO free time. Choir took two periods out of the day. Theater took a class period, and most of my afternoons. Debate took ALL of my weekends for two entire years. I was running myself ragged, and I was miserable.
My senior year, I decided to do what was best for me and quit theater. I stopped writing extra speeches for debate. I dropped out of AP calculus and took a teacher’s aid period. I spent a brief time taking stats for the Lady Panthers Varsity Soccer Team. I finally had enough time to stop and think about who I was outside of all of these things, and I loved it. I loved having time to hang out with friends, I loved eating dinner at home.
I was judged by my peers for the decision to take some time for myself. God forbid I get a break my senior year, right? People saw me as lazy, or said I was giving up. I let that get to me, until I saw the bags around their eyes. I no longer envied them. Those things were fun, but none of them are my passion like it is for some kids. And guess what? That’s okay.
Making “friends” in high school was easy, but making real connections was harder. There were, of course, a few. But the amount of friends I left with was way less than the amount I went in with. And that’s not a bad thing, either. I’m much happier not putting on airs. The people that have stayed with me are people who love me for who I truly am, and I don’t have to pretend.
High school makes it very difficult to authentically be yourself. Especially because you don’t even know who you really are yet. There are still so many things that are not set in stone, and so many things that are subject to change. It may be the place where it starts, but I don’t think high school is the place where you find yourself. At least, it wasn’t for me.
My experience with high school had a lot of pain. I mean, a lot. I hurt, and I put myself in positions to hurt even worse. There were, however, a lot of ups. I acheieved more than I ever thought I would. I became confident enough to continue my education. I started the process of learning myself. But I will never wish for those years back.
So long, MHS. One year down without you, hopefully a lot more to go.