The best years of your life?

Myths of High School Volume 1

It’s 6:45 am when your alarm goes off, but you’ve already been up for 30 minutes because there’s a rush of excitement and nervousness coursing through you. You literally couldn’t sleep. 

It’s your first day of school, but this year, it’s different. This year you feel like you can take on the world because you’ve finally made it to the big leagues: high school.

You’ve grown up hearing from countless adults, movies, and tv shows that high school was going to be “the best time of your life.”  The Golden Years.   

But the reality of what high school is really like may come to shock you. Soon, you’ll have stress, peer pressure, and new responsibilities thrown in your face, and it may hit you harder than you’d expect. 

You step out of the car onto the campus where you’ll be spending the next four years. You’re almost shaking you’re so anxious. You walk into the building, wearing the outfit you picked out days ago, to make your big first-day impression and look around to make sure you know where your classes are.

After that, you walk into the bathroom to make sure you’re still looking your best just in time for class to start. You walk out and run into your best friends from middle school and you all talk about how excited you are. Then, the first bell rings. You say your goodbyes and head to class ASAP, making sure you won’t be late. 

This eagerness won’t last forever. Soon, you’ll have to learn how to force yourself to wake up and drag yourself to school, not to mention being there on time. It’s possible that after a month, you’ve had at least three mental breakdowns about how stressed and overwhelmed you’ve become (in the same bathroom where you tried to contain your excitement on the first day). 

After a few months, your eagerness for school has been gradually fading. This enthusiasm has morphed into a level of hatred. You’ve gone from being excited for class, to utterly dreading each 45 minute period. The only thing you look forward to in your day is when you get to go home. 

Sound familiar?  What happened to the excitement? To the “Golden Years?”

You grow up hearing from tv shows, movies, parents, aunts, uncles, etc. about how the HS years are going to be the best of your life, but high school, it’s tough. And for most people, these four years probably won’t be the best years of your life, and depending on your experiences these could easily feel like the worst. 

You’ll inevitably run into drama with friends, peer pressure, and a fair amount of stress. This takes more of a toll on some kids than others, depending on your experiences. Some kids even develop issues with anxiety or depression. 

Regardless of how yours go, though, the years you spend in high school are some of the most important in your life. The lessons you learn in high school, academically and socially, help to shape the kind of individual you’re becoming. 

Senior Demi Harms described her outlook on high school saying, “[It’s] an emotional rollercoaster but it really is a time where everyone is trying to find themselves.” 

Students in high school are so impressionable at this age. This also means anything and everything that affects you also impacts you that much more just because of all the raging emotions and hormones coursing through you at all times. 

But high school is different for everyone. Some tend to breeze through it with no problems; others may have anxiety and struggle to not stumble over their words; some people are so focused on either sports or academics they forget everything else; and others are constantly stressing over how to get into college.  Then there are the kids who simply seem to not care. 

Sophomore Summer Grady shared a little bit about her high school experience so far and said, “At the beginning, I kind of just threw myself into whatever came my way without really thinking about the consequences, but the past couple months have made me realize what’s really important.”

Learning how to hone your focus onto more important categories in your life is an important time-management skill that everybody has to learn to do at some point. 

High school is exciting at first. Whether you’re coming in with your friends from middle school, meet a completely new group of friends, or maybe even a combo, it’s inevitable that you’re going to run into some people that won’t necessarily be the best assets to add into your life.

They could be fake, a bad influence, or just not mesh with your personality, but a lesson that’s important for all high schoolers to learn is how to detect who’s good to keep close and who’s not. 

While there are hundreds of different personalities spread throughout the campus, there are still some struggles that are usually standard for everyone. There’s drama, mean girls, mean boys, constant stress over grades, the pressure of fitting in, and countless other issues students deal with every day. 

Dylan Zervos, a junior, gave the advice, “Don’t burn your bridges and you just have to learn to not judge people and odds are, they probably won’t judge you back. When it comes to dealing with everything going on in life, you just have to learn how to balance it all and try to put your best foot forward in schoolwork and everything you do.” 

High schoolers have to learn to juggle getting good grades, getting community service hours, sports credit, being active participants in clubs and extracurriculars, and overall working to have a well-rounded resume so you can get into college, and hopefully the one of your choice. This isn’t even including finding time for yourself to have fun with friends or just to relax. Some students handle this much better than others, but this definitely isn’t easy for everyone. 

After being thrown into the jungle that is high school, sophomore Camille Valadie shared that she didn’t expect high school to be that much different from middle school, but once she got there, she found out she was very wrong.

She said, “The initial transition was overwhelming and it definitely showed in my grades.” 

It’s quite common you won’t go a day at school without hearing at least one person talk about how stressed or how much they have to do. If one thing is for sure, high school is not for the weak. You may come out with a few bruises, but in the end, you will make it through and be a better person from it. But, it’s not impossible to have fun in high school. 

You increasingly gain more independence over your teenage years as you’re being prepared to be sent off into the real world after high school. And with this newfound freedom, you can start to go to events and activities without your parents incessantly hovering over you. For example, you start driving your sophomore or junior year and can now be more responsible for yourself. 

The word “responsible” is a big concept that comes into play during your high school years. Yes, you gain more freedom, but with that also comes responsibilities. You’re now more on your own and have to learn to make the right choices without hearing your mom or dad’s voice in your ear telling you what to do. This is a category that pretty much every teen slips up at least once in these essential formative years. 

So now, not only is there the stress of school work, athletics, community service, potentially a job, but there’s also the added pressure of not disappointing your parents with the new privileges they’ve so graciously given you. On top of all of that, there’s the constant uncertainty and confusion of figuring out what kind of person you’re becoming and want to be as you’re experiencing more of the real world. Many people don’t consider these to be the “golden years” with all of these aspects now in perspective.

Life is long, and high school is going to be over in a hot second. I think the best advice I could give to teens now, is to just try to be a good person

— Mr. Johnson

It’s pretty safe to say that your high school experiences probably won’t be constantly fantastic and fun-filled without the looming possibility of jeopardizing your future. Don’t get me wrong, high school will definitely have it’s shining moments, but it’s important to not lose sight of the fact that the decisions you make in high school very well could be the deciding factor of what college(s) you get into. 

Some students stress this a little more than others, and by a little, perhaps a lot more. For mental health’s sake, it’s probably not the best idea to constantly be stressing over this for four years, but it is key to just keep it in the back of your head when deciding whether you should party all weekend, every weekend, and never really make time for school or important extracurriculars. 

Mr. Johnson, a teacher in the English department said, “Life is long, and high school is going to be over in a hot second. I think the best advice I could give to teens now, is to just try to be a good person instead of feeling like you’re trying to live up to all these expectations of what high school’s supposed to be about.” 

High school will be fun, but it will also be stressful at times. It’s important to find a nice balance and not let either side get too out of hand. For most, these might not be the best years of your life, but without a shadow of a doubt, they’re some of the most formative.