10 Years Out Of High School

As much as I do not want to admit I’ve been out of high school for 10 years, it’s also nice to reflect on my life. I especially like to reflect on the parts of my life that were not-so-great, so I can see how much I’ve grown.

High school was not good for me. I had friends who got into bad things, and I felt left out because I didn’t get into those bad things. I had a bad relationship with my family at the time. I didn’t like school, I didn’t like trying.

I was looking back at some photos from my high school years and it was honestly hard to do. Because on top of all that, I was also dating someone at the time who was much older than me and influenced my young life in a way that I was they wouldn’t have. A lot of the photos I have include him, or were taken by him, or he was there for. And it makes me feel sad because I can’t look back at a big chunk of my life and think about how happy I was because most of the time I wasn’t and in the times I thought I was happy, I was being misguided.

Of course, I still hold some memories close to my heart. I don’t have any friends left from high school, I keep in touch with some on social media but there are none that I can still call a friend. Even so, there are some people who don’t have any terribly bad memories attached to them so I cling to those things and those memories.

Like the time a group of friends and I skipped our Snowland dance and walked around in the snow outside in our neighborhood.

Like my Ancient Civ teacher who stuck up for me when I couldn’t stick up for myself and provided me a safe place to hang out in school.

Like my friends from a different school on my travel soccer team who took me under their wing.

Like my high school crush playing me First Day of My Life by Bright Eyes in my basement on his guitar.

Like the boy from my study hall who took me to prom when no one else would because of my aforementioned much older boyfriend.

Like my job at the movie theater and all of the people there who were funny, who were kind, who were my friends.

Like the giant crush me and 2 friends had on our English teacher that we would gossip about all day.

Like the history teacher who always made it a point to say hi to me and the humanities teacher who turned my senior year around.

Like my middle school English teacher coming to see me at my high school graduation.

Like making a friend in my gym class after finding out we were both going to the same college.

Like the summer my friend drove us around in his car and brought us to low key high school parties.

Like the time my AP Euro teacher pretended my answer in Jeopardy was better than the smartest girl in the classes answer (it wasn’t).

Small moments, people you only know for a little while, they all make such a huge impact. Despite the negative outlook I have on high school, there were still people and times where I was pushed to keep going. I was pushed to keep growing to the point where I was able to find myself in college, get out of bad situations, and live the life I lead today.

So if you’re in high school and you’re reading this, I hope you’ll be one of those people and small moments that helps someone make it to the next day. I hope you’ll be kind.

If you’re a teacher and you read this, I hope you know how much of an imprint you leave on people. I highly doubt most of my teachers remember me, but I sure do remember them.

And if you read this and currently feel like things will never get better, I would like to tell you that they do as long as you hold on to the small things.

22 thoughts on “10 Years Out Of High School

  1. Loved reading about your high school experiences. I’m in my last year of school and from next year I’ll be in college. Luckily, I haven’t had many negative experiences in my school life and I want this pandemic to end as soon as possible, so I can enjoy my last year of school.

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  2. This was beautiful.

    My writing on here was based on my college years. I could probably write just as much about my high school years, although there would be noticeably fewer happy episodes. (The first four episodes of DLTDGB were prologues, and the second episode, December 15, 1993, was specifically set in high school, but mostly just to set up future plans and also introduce a significant trait of character-Greg’s that would influence many future episodes.)

    My high school experience was not typical at all. I kept to myself in high school, I had acquaintances and classmates but very few friends. Some people did reach out to me, and I kept them at a distance as a defense mechanism. In real life (I have made no mention of this in my alternate blog universe), I went to school in the next town over from where I lived, so all my classmates lived 10 miles away. The reason why I did not go to the school in the neighborhood where I lived was something I was so ashamed of, which, given my past, I assumed would make me an instant easy target for bullies. So the fact that I did not live near everyone else had to remain a closely guarded secret, which meant no socializing outside of school other than school events like football games and occasional dances (I also didn’t dance and wasn’t comfortable doing so, which didn’t help). This was all self-inflicted, for the most part, but I felt like I had to do that to protect myself, and it wasn’t really that different from the life I had always known, so I didn’t know how to have friends. By the time I was old enough to drive, I started having a little bit of a social life, and senior year felt like a lot of personal growth for me. But then everyone graduated and scattered, and it was a lot harder to stay in touch in 1994, since social media and texting literally had not been invented yet, and email was a newly mainstream technology that most of my friends didn’t use.

    However, that opened up my college years for a lot of the personal growth that most people went through a little bit earlier, and paved the way for all the good things that happened then. My mom told me that she ran into my 11th grade history teacher (let’s just say this teacher and I had had our ups and downs and a bit of conflict) during my second year away at school; he asked how I was doing, and Mom said that going away to school and being on my own had been the best thing for me. Mom was right.

    Thanks for sharing, and thanks for all that perspective.

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    1. Most of my personal growth was in college too, I was really stunted in high school by only having negative experiences. I didn’t branch out at all and the friendships I had were poor. Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

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      1. Was it just because of that boyfriend, or were there other reasons? I’m just curious; I don’t mean to pry, and you don’t have to share if you don’t want to. And I think it’s amazing, and a little scary, what different worlds we grew up in, just 17 years apart…

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      2. It was because of my boyfriend, I had a bad group of friends, and really just didn’t like school. I had authority issues and school never really challenged me. Lots of things that added up that I feel like stunted my maturity, my ability to make friends, and grow on my own. That’s why I shared this! Even though I’ve been out of high school for so long, I think the experiences we have can be universal

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      3. Understandable. I wasn’t like that, but I’ve certainly known many people over the years who were. I was the type that school was the only thing I knew I was good at, and I had too much of my identity wrapped up in being good at school, so I studied harder than I needed to. I’m not sure exactly how much life experience I missed out on by studying too hard, though, at least as far as high school goes. College, maybe, but in high school, I didn’t really have a social life, so if I wasn’t studying harder than I needed to, I would have been spending that free time with Mario and Luigi and Link and Zelda rather than with real friends.

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      4. Definitely, and I’m not sure I ever did. I remember Eddie Baker told me once that maybe we should just both take a class sometime and fail it on purpose, just so we would remember to be humble and not put all of our self-worth into grades. We never did, though.

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  3. I’d like to meet the person who coined the phrase “schooldays are the best of your life”. At least you’ve moved on and it’s great that you can remember some good things about it. I don’t have great memories of my school days, but I am still in touch with my friend who I met when I was 11.

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  4. You sound like you have great self awareness and perspective these days. Everyone needs to have time and (good and bad) experiences in order to discover those things I think.
    I’m the opposite in a way, I had a great time at school but then those high school friends ended up being totally apathetic to me (not each other) later on, leading them to be not very kind at all.
    Still, you win some, you lose some!
    As long as you are your awesome self ^_^

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