You came into high school as a 14 or 15-year-old child without any big expectations, telling yourself you were mature. You knew it wouldn't be like the movies.
Yeah, me too, and then I graduated.
Now I find myself thinking about all the things I thought would happen in high school that didn't and all the experiences I thought I would have experienced by now. We grew up in the age of High School Musical, so how can we not have big high school dreams lingering the back of our heads?
Is something wrong with me for feeling almost disappointed with certain aspects of these past four years? I know I'm not the only one because my friends feel the same way. We talk about it often when we're reminiscing and try to come up with a solution for this feeling in the pit of our stomachs. So, for those recent graduates or anyone else who is feeling this sense of longing for a better high school career, I hope this brings you a little relief.
It isn’t fun to feel like you’re at the bottom of a food chain that you didn’t ask to be a part of in the first place? When you walk into the school and think you don’t belong or everyone is looking and talking about you (even if they aren’t) it messes up your entire day. These kids have a lot of power over you, and they can make you feel awful about yourself. It can be hard to explain that to someone who just doesn’t understand.
My biggest problem in high school was my own self-confidence. It took me a while to realize that it was all in my head. I could’ve sat with those girls at lunch or joined that club or sang in the talent show or gone to senior prom alone. But, I sat all of that out and stayed on the sidelines. I felt like if I tried to do something other than being as invisible as possible, there was a chance I would fail—and god forbid I fail and someone notices. That would be total social suicide, right? I would die from embarrassment if someone realized I was a normal human being that made an occasional mistake, right? It would be the end of my life, right?
Looking back, the worst part is knowing that none of that mattered.
Everyone else was too focused on themselves and their own problem to care about what I was doing— like whether my stomach growled in class or if I was stuttering when I gave my presentation or if when I sat at my desk I had a little roll on my stomach. Deep down, I knew that, but it was that fear that held me back. I would be lying if I said I didn’t sit and think about all the things I missed out on or what I could do if I went back or if I was just a little more popular. But, really, none of that matters anymore.
High school doesn't live up to anyone's expectations, and you shouldn't feel bad about that. We're all inevitably disappointed in some way. High school is not like a movie and no one's experience is perfect. You shouldn't feel discouraged about not being 100% satisfied when you leave. We all have regrets, and honestly, most of them lead back to high school.
Here's the thing: you have to get over it.
That part of my life is behind me now and thinking about it or comparing my experience to someone else isn't going to do anything. Sure, there are things I wish had happened differently, and things I wish I had handled better. The only thing I or you or anyone else can do about it now is to learn. Take all the things you're wishing you did and said and participated in and write them down. You have your entire life to do those things. You can be the person you wish had been in high school.
I'm glad high school wasn't the best four years of my life. I don't want my best memories to start and end inside those gross brick walls of high school. I want every year to be the best year of my life. When I look back on high school, I'm going to remember all the good memories before any of the bad ones. And I think that's pretty good. I can settle with that for now.