What I’ve Learned From High School


Alexis Smith, Writer

Ever since I was little, I thought high school would be the peak of my life. Between the popular movie High School Musical, every teen flick in existence taking place in high school, and realizing there was a lot more freedom allowed than in middle and elementary school, I thought high school was going to be a wonderful fantasy world where you figure out what to do in life and make lifelong friends. Everyone older than me has always said “High school was the best years of my life,” or “It all goes down after high school,” but in reality, high school is one of the most anticlimactic, overhyped things in existence. 

Real life high school is not ideal. You’re stuck in a place learning hard material while being judged by your peers, friends, and teachers. Tests are taken constantly to evaluate your intelligence, making self esteem plummet if a certain score isn’t met. It simply makes a lot of students feel like they aren’t good enough. 

Students are also at a sensitive time in their life in high school. Their hormones are changing, they’re learning who they are and what they want to do in life, and they’re extremely emotional due to these changes mentally and physically. Also, teenagers are mean. Period. They say and do things directly to hurt feelings, ruin relationships, and being stuck in a room with 30 or more is annoying. Some of them never shut up, disrupt classroom learning, or think that they’re better than other people. Teens are nothing like the movies, so thanks High School Musical for unrealistic expectations. 

Sure, high school has its moments. The pep rallies are fun when you can scream at the top of your lungs, you make friends when you find the weird people just like you, and you can pick your own classes which is pretty awesome (no more history class, yay!), but besides those moments high school sucks. I’m sorry, but it does. Anyone who says otherwise is probably lying or they miraculously had great high school years. 

I haven’t had such great luck. My freshman year, my parents got divorced and my grandfather died of pancreatic cancer. Wonderful. Sophomore year was kind of a blur for me. I mostly did work and read books in the library. Junior year, I finally got friends to hang out with, which is pretty good, but that same year I also wrecked my car into a mailbox, totaling the left, front headlight, my band director moved away to another school at the end of the year, which was heartbreaking for me, and my mentally abusive father randomly showed up at one of my marching band practices after not being in my life for three years to give me a dollar store balloon, cry to make me feel bad for not talking to him, and ask why I haven’t seen him… on my 17th birthday. What a real winner, am I right ladies and gentlemen? And as for senior year, do I even need to explain? On second thought, I think I do. I end up quitting band at the start of the year because it isn’t the same anymore, all my “friends” leave me, and finally to top it off, we’re currently in one of the largest pandemics to take place since a century ago, which means I, along with every other senior, missed out on prom, graduation, are stuck at home for months, and miss out on every other senior activity. The lockdown, the senior trip, senior night, etc., gone. 

I thought high school was supposed to be great? One of the best times of my life? I get that a lot of these things are outside of high school’s jurisdiction, but you never know what goes on behind closed doors. Other kids probably have it just as bad or worse than I have and think that this is supposed to be the best time in their life. If this is supposed to be the best, won’t it just get worse from here? 

Teens think it won’t get better, which is why the teenage suicide rate is so high. If this is as good as it gets, what kind of a life will I have? There’s too much stigma on the fact that high school is such a great place, but the harsh reality is that it’s not. High school is just a dot on the map of people’s lives that doesn’t even really matter that much. 

Ten years from now, I’m not gonna care that all my friends left me in high school. I’m not going to care that I didn’t have a three hour graduation where I had to watch my annoying classmates walk the line; I’m going to be overjoyed that my graduation lasted at most three minutes and my mother got it all on video. I won’t care that my high school years sucked because I’ll be doing bigger and better things with my life. 

I’m so ready to move on to the next chapter of my story. I’m ready to go to college to figure out what I want to do in life, get my own place, get a job, have a family, have people that truly love and care about me by my side, rather than sitting  in a room with moody teens who don’t even know who I am. I’m ready to get out in this world, grab it with both hands and not let go no matter what. I’m ready to see and experience things that I’ve never thought were possible. Aren’t you? 

So, to all you seniors who are butthurt about missing a little dance or a trip, I totally get how you’re feeling, believe me, but does it really matter that much? Will missing out on a crappy dance with strobe lights compare to the things your future holds? Just look at us. Our generation is living through a pandemic. Imagine the stories we’ll be able to tell to our children and grandchildren about how we were quarantined for months on end and lived to tell the tale. That’s pretty freaking awesome. We are all capable of doing amazing things, just you wait and see what you can accomplish. 

High school is only the beginning. The best is yet to come. Good luck out there guys.

High school graduate Alexis Smith- signing off.