If you have been following my blog for quite some time now, then you would know that I write about my college experiences from time to time (more like, every Tuesday- check them out then!).
However, it has come to my attention that I haven’t written anything about my high school experience. Seeing that some of you bloggers are in high school, I thought that I would dedicate today’s post to my personal experience with it, as well as offer some tips and advice to help you survive that is commonly called the “the best (or worst) four years of your life.”
*But a side note about that quote: high school isn’t always perfect or hellish for everyone. I’m sorry if you think it is/was, but it’s not always like that. Things will get better, I promise. But I digress; onward! 🙂
To start, I would say that, as a whole, high school was…okay for me. I mean, I went every day, didn’t skip classes, did my homework, took tests, and did the best that I could in preparation for college.
One of my very first memories of high school were the cross-country practices that I did over the summer beginning my freshmen year. High school hadn’t even started for me then, but since I wanted to be on the team, I had to go to practice in July and into the school year. The early morning runs before the sun came out were challenging (both to my body and sleepy mind), but I loved them. It was always a beautiful thing to see the sun rise as you run, and smell the fresh pine-mint by the road side on a summer day. Yup, those were the golden years…
But let’s start with actual freshmen year. Basically…it was pretty uneventful. I was only taking one honors course for English and the rest were just regular class. You know, like biology, geometry, French, and what not. I wasn’t like the other, “overachievers” loading up on honors and AP courses. My mindset was that I was going to keep it chill my first year, and not stress out too much like my peers. At the same time, however, I kind of regret that I chose to do that. At least I could have taken one other Honors course to challenge myself, because I was not challenged at all in my classes, besides English. My regular courses were filled with students who were just not motivated at all to learn and even worse, had no respect for those who actually cared. They just goofed off in class, didn’t pay attention to the teachers, and always made excuses to leave the class to “go to the bathroom” (about one million times as well). I found myself very annoyed with them, and I never looked forward going to those classes unless there was a friend in there who I could feel comfortable with. I got good grades in those classes, but the atmosphere sucked.
As for cross-country and track, our team had weekly races with other schools, and so we would sometimes leave in the early afternoon for the competition. Granted, I wasn’t the fastest or even one of the fastest on the team, but I was determined and tried hard. In other words, I was a team sport. Things picked up for the better second semester, after I had endured sprints training for track (which I would not return to the following year, because I couldn’t sprint to save my life). Those sprints training, however, did toughen me up, and strangely helped me improve in my long distance. But more on that later.
Second year summer rolled around, and I was back to cross-country training. Now, I was one of the girls leading the team in the morning runs. I pushed myself harder than ever, and liked the fact that the time results were reflecting that. We would soon go on to have one of our best school record titles that year.
As for school, I now loaded up on honors and AP courses, after having *barely* tolerated freshmen year with regular courses. I enjoyed being challenged, and was pleased to do well in them. Especially World History AP, which was my first ever AP in high school.
Track season that year was a good one. I ran my best times in the mile and 2-mile. Made more friends, became more outgoing while still hanging out with my old group who I’ve known since elementary school. I would consider my sophomore year my favorite in high school.
However, things took for the worse during my junior year. My summer vacation to China and Taiwan set it off: not like I didn’t enjoy myself while there, but when I came back, I was out of shape for cross-country. And because of that, I couldn’t keep up during practice, even after months of returning. I just wasn’t feeling it. And spraining my ankle three times that year (and being out for a month in track that spring) just depressed me.
It didn’t help that my classes that year weren’t super awesome, either. Again, I loaded up on honors and APs, but my AP U.S. History course was the bane of my existence. At first, I hated my teacher for the class, because she graded hard and gave us impossible-to-answer questions on our weekly quizzes. But now that I reflect back on it, I was being too hard on her; true, it was her first year teaching the course, and so she probably learned along the way just like her students. And it did pay off in the end when I took the AP exam and received good marks on it. But man oh man, that year was rough.
Things, however, got better- much better- during second semester that year, after all of the AP exams were finished in May and we had a month to do miscellaneous things for our courses. I became happier, as my ankle healed and I was back to running again (although now my ankle was slightly weaker and I had to be careful from then on).
Went college visiting over the summer and into the school year. Senior year, at least the first semester, was planning for and applying to colleges. Worked on the personal statements, asked for letters of recommendation, and tried to figure out what the heck I was going to do after graduating from high school. Which schools to go and what to do in case I didn’t get accepted into them. And all in the meanwhile juggling my now five AP classes, club activities, and cross-country practice that year.
Things were changing. I could sense some of my senior peers, including my friends, beginning to…mature. Thinking about what we were going to do after high school, coming adults, and potentially leaving home for all of that. Some knew that they were destined for community college while others wanted to excel in the Ivy Leagues. Others just wanted to go straight to work, or even join the Marines!
I opted not to do track that following spring season. I had a not-so-good experience from the previous year, and so I wanted to have the afternoon off after my last class. I wasn’t obligated to continue for school credit (I’d completed it long time ago), so I left it like that. I’d made some new friends from cross-country that year and would hang out with them after school frequently.
Prom came and went (in a nutshell, fun but pretty forgettable), then graduation. Decked out with biodegradable green cap and gowns on the blustery June evening, sitting outside in the football field, listening to speaker after speaker spout generic speeches. But despite the eye-rolling inducing clichés, I felt the nostalgia hit me for real. Because there was a huge chance that I would never see all of these people again, at least, if I didn’t choose to attend those ten, twenty-year high school reunions that the school put up for alumni. Some I would care less to see again, but others I treasured. And the friendships that I made and had, I aimed to keep.
This post is going on for so long; I didn’t realize that I had so much to say about my high school years. For those who are in high school and thinking about the future, don’t worry too much. Be prepared for it, but don’t get too caught up in it. Because things change, whether you want them to or not. And it’s okay.
That being said, I leave you with all of this text to reflect on. Take care. 🙂
– The Finicky Cynic