Looking back on high school

psych

High school is just a gas station on the road trip of life, and I’m merely stopping through.

I just don’t care about nearly as much as I used to, because my life here is temporary; I’m not going to be here for much longer anyways.

There are so many things I want to redo in my lifetime and in my time spent on this school campus, but the way that I see it, one minuscule decision here could have made all of the difference there. Maybe if I had decided another way on whatever divisive issue, the course of my life would be changed forever. But we can only speculate so far about “what-ifs.”

I remember the first day of high school, walking with my best friend (at the time) to our first period class. We exuberantly talked about how we’d finally made it to high school. Walking up the side steps to Askew Hall, I was wearing an ugly, over-sized Abercrombie jacket, and I had completely idealistic expectations at age 14.

I had big dreams of ending up at some Ivy League school (I’d magically get into Yale, Princeton, and Harvard and get my pick) and nothing beyond that, because the wonders of college had been preached to me like Gospel and that’s all I knew.

And now I’m here in my senior year. It’s not fair to say that so much has changed because I’ve changed just as much.

Exactly how much less do I care? Let me count the ways…

I don’t care about other people’s flaws. You’d be surprised at how much I used to care, and how much it got to me. I think that while people understand that they are each majorly flawed in their own unique way, they simultaneously think that their lifestyle is better than others. I am no exception, and your imperfections became my imperfections, some obtrusion in my peripheral vision of life. I used to have a tendency to provide people with my own professional advice (all in my head, of course) and get mad when they ignored it.

I don’t care about grades as much. DON’T GET ME WRONG, I STILL TOTALLY CARE, just not as much. Senioritis is a real, live thing, but I’ve just been burning out in the past few months. Getting to this checkpoint in life (college – check!) has made me realize just how unhealthily I’ve been living lately.

I don’t care about minor details as much. The pace of life has slowed down. I used to be concerned with my phone’s ringtone, my computer desktop, and the brand of shampoo that I used. Now, I couldn’t care less, and I’m digging this new approach to life. When exactly I started to let go of this type of meaningless focusing, I don’t know, but you don’t realize it until you have to buy a new bottle of shampoo.

It doesn’t matter how much you evaluate the choices that you make today; you will always look back and be baffled by what you prioritized at one point in time, most of them being completely unwarranted.

You’re going to want to milk high school for all that its worth. High school is not about the academics, but rather the academic habits that you build up. Let’s be real. You’re not going to remember the pluscuamperfecto del subjuntivo or the Mean Value Theorem, you’re going to solidify the study skills that you need for college and beyond. We are all some combination of actual learning and rote memorization. The skills that I cultivate in my time here in this prison will help me to, say, tackle big projects earlier or wrote a bad-ass paper compared to the rest of my peers.

My English teacher once said that high school isn’t about the friends that you make or the classes that you take, but rather the socialization skills that you learn. Let’s face the facts: these people will all be photos in a yearbook, “glory days” for when you’re nostalgic. Some might follow you into the first few years of college, but you’ll see them at your high school reunion, and you’ll be curious, oh-so-curious to see how that über-nerd turned out or if the pothead ever did go crazy and whether or not you’ve satisfied, or perhaps, exceeded everyone’s expectations of you in your last year of high school.

This song is from junior high:

13 comments

  1. Pingback: Introducing my new series: “Sophomore Spotlight” | Catherine Zhang
  2. Gen. Fury

    High school isn’t just a gas station on the road trip of life. It IS life. It’s all there is. So too your current family and friends, any job you get, college, your career, various accomplishments, and eventual retirement. That’s all there is to life. It’s ALL temporary. You need to try to understand, richly experience, exploit, and enjoy every part of it. Even high school.

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    • catdiggedydog

      Hey! Thanks for your comment. Perhaps the topic sentence was a little too strong; when I get overwhelmed with my experiences here, I just remember that there is much more ahead of me and that high school isn’t the culmination of my life. I do appreciate what you’re saying though; I agree that we should try to live in the “now” and never take any of it for granted or just constantly look forward to the future. :)

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      • Gen. Fury

        Indeed. The “now” of life is all Father Reality and Mother Nature is ever going to offer us, basically. When I was your age and younger, all my elders consistently terrified me by their ominous, overt warnings and low-key murmurs that (in effect) “You better enjoy life NOW; youth is the best time for pleasure; life only gets (much) WORSE as you age.”

        I almost completely believed them — which is rare, for a pure rebel like me. But once I moved out of the house at age 18 for college (I SHOULD have left at 16, when I was ready) I felt instant and almost overwhelming freedom and liberation. I smiled non-stop. Getting to choose when to sleep, eat, study, and play was heavenly. And an EASY responsibility to manage.

        And once I dumped my piece-of-crap college and got a job, the feelings of freedom and liberation increased still more. Once you rent a solid apt., and get a mediocre job, and discover you CAN easily support yourself, you feel GREAT. Or at least I did. So when it comes to being a dependent kid and an Independent adult — and the relative pleasure and happiness levels thereof — it turns out that very single one of the adults close to me was LYING.

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          • Gen. Fury

            Thanks. You seem like a relatively good person. I don’t want you to excessively suffer (believe it or not).

            As for my blog being “a little too pessimistic”…I’m heaping limitless amounts of vitriol upon the totality of mankind! NOTHING could be more anti-social, hostile, bitter, cynical, and “pessimistic” than my blog. That’s the point. When it comes to misanthropy and not entirely appreciating the personal and philosophical nature of my fellow man — I’m number one!

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              • Gen. Fury

                “General Fury” is a character. He’s infinitely vulgar, obscene, offensive, outlandish, and hopefully unique. He’s a deeply stylized and caricaturized version of myself. Nevertheless, in some important sense I stand behind EVERY WORD he writes. All my long life I’ve been attacked and hated — including in a kind of diehard, relentless, all-in way. SO baffling and seemingly wildly unjust.

                This is my first attempt at a counterattack. I have NO IDEA where it will all end up. Instead of reaching out to people — even virtuous intellectuals, the only folks I really (semi-) like — my blog and character is slapping them down and utterly rejecting them from the get-go. Seems deeply wrong, no doubt. But I’m a stronger thinker, and “General Fury” is less of an exaggeration, than you can ever imagine. So I think I have the right to try this.

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