I know it sounds crazy, but just hear me out. Okay?
I am in the minority when I say that I miss high school. Almost everyone I know left those acne covered years in the past and never once looked back. Whenever I mention my pining for those locker-lined halls, I am usual met with curled upper lips. I certainly don’t miss the unnecessary crying and friendship-shattering fights over greasy boys, but there was a lot that I loved about that time.
There was so much free time
I rarely made it home on a weeknight in time for dinner. Sure, I was involved as a kid, but there was tons of time before and after practices that were spent wandering the empty halls of the high school with my dearest friends (because everyone knows homework was only done in the cafeteria the next morning). We would find windowsills were we whispered about boys or rifle through the costume closets looking for Halloween ideas.
When we finally left the school, we would find a way to turn a ten-minute drive to drop our friends off into an hour therapy session to work through all of our teenage problems while listening to mix CDs.
You didn’t have to be good at things
At my school, our sports teams were split up into Varsity (the kids who were good) and JV (the kids who were still working to be champions…….plus everyone else that signed up). On our teams and in our clubs, there were no cuts. If you wanted to be part of something, there was room for you. As a mediocre child, this was a beautiful system. As a coach or teacher, this must have been a nightmare.
I couldn’t count the number of times that my Cross Country coach made direct eye contact with me while telling the team we shouldn’t run in the back just because we don’t feel like running faster.
For me, this kind of inclusion meant I could go from a Student Council meeting to Cross Country practice to play rehearsal all in one afternoon. Whatever I was into, I got to try, no matter how good or bad at it I was.
My Teacher Mom
There were a lot of really cool teachers at my school. Many of the students had a teacher who’s room they would hang out in during a free period and who they actually told about their lives. I like to call these Teacher Parents. I had a teacher mom and she was the best. She let us take over her office at lunch time until it was so packed with kids that you couldn’t walk through it, she wrote us passes when we were too overcome with teenage angst to go to class, she drove us (and put up with us) to drama competitions and weekend field trips all year long, and always pretended not to know that everyone was making out in the hotel rooms.
There’s really no one in college or in the workplace who will look out for you the way your high school teacher-parent did.
I had a lot of friends
As I’ve talked about in previous posts, making friends as an adult has been no easy task. It was much easier in high school.
When you spend 9-12 hours a day in the same building with people, you end up friends, whether you like it or not.
I had my cross country friends, my track friends, my drama friends, my class friends, my driver’s ed friends. There were little pockets of people all over the school that I had relationships with. Some of them I only talked to in class, and others I spent most of my time with, but they were all friendships. Even better, friendships stuck. It’s easy to maintain a friendship when you see each other for a few hours five days a week.
There was endless freedom but no responsibility
From the moment the first person in my friend group got a car, I lived a life of freedom until graduation. Every weekend was spent hopping from house to house, emptying fridges, and watching movies in someone’s basement. We all reached a point where our parents didn’t really care what we were up to, as long as it was legal.
As long I kept my grades up and saved enough of my allowance to fill up my gas tank, everything else in my life was taken care of and I was free to roam my little town with my friends causing…..absolutely no trouble because we were a bunch of goody-two-shoes.
To be young and carefree again.
If you say you didn’t like senior year, you’re lying. You ruled the school.
But college applications and AP classes!
No. You. Ruled. The. School.
The friends I had by senior year were the ones who had been through everything with me. We meandered through the last nine months of high school with extra free periods and electives. We were the first picks for every club and basked in the admiration that the underclassmen poured on us. We felt wise and informed (we weren’t) and for the first time since eighth grade, we finally had no one to look down on us. We started planning what we were going to do with the rest of our lives (even though most of us changed majors after freshmen year). It was exciting to be moving on to something bigger.
I remember it as such a bittersweet time. I cried in front of a gym full of people at graduation while the rest of the senior choir kids and I sang For Good (obviously) and said goodbye to our senior year.
Yet, we all couldn’t wait to get to college….until we got there and realized we were right back at the bottom.