When I was a kid, my mom used to tell me that high school would be the best four years of my entire life.
When I got to high school, I had to ask– this was really as good as it ever gets? Because with three tests on Monday and the extracurriculars that I stayed in five days a week to differentiate myself from future applicants of future colleges that I would ultimately get rejected from because I wasn’t the president of the United States or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, I had to question whether high school was one of those things that you look back on as some of the best times of your life when really, it wasn’t when you were actually living it. I couldn’t understand how people thought that waking up at 6:30 in the morning to go sit in the same building with the same people and run through the same schedule could possibly be as good as life ever gets.
When I first signed up for Journalism, I’ll be honest, I signed up because my dad told me that writing for the school newspaper would sound great on my college application. However, if you would have asked me then, I would have vehemently denied and told you that the only reason I wanted to take this non-AP credit course was because of my love for writing. That would have been a lie.
My journalism class started out just as any other high school class, with the unspoken expectations that our fellow classmates, with the exception of a few, would really just exist to us inside the 45 minute class periods we were required to be present in together. If you look at us now, in our senior year, our class is very different. We have gone out for food together, rehearsed practice college interviews with each other in the corner of the room, one of the girls from the class even drove to my house last week during the quarantine to bring over a plate of brownies.
It has become a class that we look forward to every day and, in our senior year, it has been a class that for some of us (off the record, of course), was the only reason we decided to show up to school at all. And typing this at home on my laptop with very little likelihood that I will be going back to high school before the end of the school year, I think it’s safe to say that we made it. I think it’s also safe to say that for us, this class was what every high school class should be, and I am immensely thankful that my 15-year-old freshman self decided to sign up for it to buff up her college resume.
It’s funny because during so much of high school, you are always looking towards something. You are looking towards your math test and then towards your extracurricular after school and then towards your project due next week, your third quarter grades, your GPA, your college interview, your college decisions. And then it’s over. And then you’re looking back.
I never understood when I saw last year’s graduates showing up to randomly walk the halls or come take seniors that they were never even really friends with out for lunch. To be honest, I think my exact words were, “and that’s how you know they peaked in high school.”
The irony was not lost on me when, yesterday, my sister and I drove to the WCHS parking lot, pulled into spot #317 like it was just any other day, and just sat there for a while. Maybe high school really was some of the best years of my life. Or maybe now that I’m out of it, my perception of how it really was is skewed. Either way, I can’t help but miss it a little bit. I can’t help but wish that I could have one more fully normal day of tests and lunch with my friends, and counting down the minutes until the end of the day. For closure purposes.
My advice to current high schoolers is to just take a breath from looking forward and try to enjoy where you are now. Even though it doesn’t seem like it, you might just end up wishing you could go back.
And now, we look forward to the next chapter: college. Talking about it with my cousin a while ago though, she said something that really stuck with me.
“College will be the best four years of your entire life.”