Photo by Ally Salzberg
To be completely honest, I have no idea what to write this reflection about. You see, most people write theirs about the amazing memories and times they have had in high school, but I didn’t have that. Do not get me wrong, I am ending high school with amazing friends and experiences, but it definitely was not the typical high school experience I expected and dreamt of.
I am telling you this because I want it to be normalized. It is totally okay to not have a good high school experience. Whether it be not making friends at your school or just not feeling like you fit in with your classmates, it is all totally fine.
For those of you who are reading this who have not had the best experience, let me start off by saying that I am sorry. It is definitely not easy to spend four years going through that, I truly get it. I understand how lonely you feel, and the belief you may have that you will never find people who like you. It is such a toxic process to go through, but I want you to know that it really does get better as time goes on. I know it sounds cliche, but it is true.
The thing that I want to make clear to anyone reading this is that high school is not all there is in life. Right now, it seems that way because you have spent a lot of time here and this is where you have been the most mature and aware of what’s going on. You just have to realize that there is so much more to life.
This was extremely hard to understand, and it definitely took me a while to truly get it. But now that I am officially into college and am talking to all new people, I can tell you with first hand experience that your high school life does not have to follow you forever and does not define the rest of your life.
In high school, people get so caught up in the littlest things that truly do not matter. I get it, because at the moment high school is more or less your entire life. But in the long run, high school is a mere four years where all anyone is trying to do is fit in. Once you head off to college, you do not even have to think about any of it anymore.
For some people though, that knowledge is not enough. They cannot spend four years being miserable and lonely- which I really do get. It is not an easy task. To those who feel this way, the best piece of advice I can give you is to go out of your comfort zone and really branch out.
This can and will be different for everyone. For me, I started talking to people from other schools and I took advantage of the fact that I had older kids in a lot of my classes. This is where I can say journalism really helped me. I took it upon myself to become friends with the kids a year older than me, and I soon found myself genuinely enjoying class. Without reaching out beyond my comfort zone, I do not know how I would have gone through class everyday.
As for reaching out to people from other schools, this is the best thing I can recommend to anyone who is having a rough time in school. Take advantage of the fact that Montgomery County schools are all close to one another and the fact that there are so many mutual connections throughout the schools. I was terrified to do this because I was worried people would make fun of me for having to leave my school to make friends, but this was one of the best things I have ever done. I met amazing people who I get along with and truly connect with. So what if they go to another school? Step out of your comfort zone and find new people!
I do not want to bore you with any more of my sob story, but I hope that my vulnerability shows people that it is okay and normal to not have the high school experience that Disney movies prepared us to have. For those that are loving life in high school, I hope you really cherish the time you have because as we have all seen, it can be taken away in an instant. And for those who’ve hit a rough patch, know that it can and will get better- you can quote me on that.