For some, high school is a place of glory, potential and friendships. Relationships flourish and memories are made, culminating in an unforgettable scene of joyous youth. In some other instances, high school is deeply more challenging, whether it be academically, socially or emotionally. In my case, high school was a little bit of both, a melting pot of the good and the bad.
I went in with high expectations, an intuitive feeling that I would be successful in all areas because I was ready to try. What I didn't realize is that trying did not automatically lead to success or happiness. Most times, in fact, trying wasn't cool. I tried too hard, it burned me out and I didn't even get to reap the benefits I had always imagined.
I was the editor-in-chief of the yearbook, meaning I was given the job to write the story of the entire student body in the 2015-2016 school year. As someone devoted to storytelling and journalism, it was the glory and potential of my high school career. I truly did enjoy doing my job with vigor and strength, as I had always planned. As time progressed, however, I realized I was detached from the student body. I wasn't sharing their memories with the same teenage moxie; not because of a lack of effort, but because I seemed unwanted by others. I was that wordy outcast who tried harder and harder to be connected in a place that all too often just wanted to look at my pictures than engage with me as a human being.
While I still reflect on my senior year with pride in my work, I remain glum in regards to my social standing. I didn't want to be popular or "cool," but I also didn't want my cohorts to dislike me so earnestly that it seemed like second nature to dread being in their presence. I wasn't necessarily bullied, but I was left out time and time again. I would return home empty-hearted yet relentless, continuing to search for reasons why my high school experience did not offer me more. This bleak perception even continued into the summer, where I would stand by as the girls who should have been lifting me up continued to push me down, consciously or not.
Instead of dwelling in the "Breakfast Club" mindset where we all continued to stay in our designated high school roles, I decided to guide myself into a more mature state of mind. One where I can say "Bye Felicia" without feeling pangs of resentment toward my public school days. So for myself, and for everyone else who ever felt alienated in high school, may we find closure with this wisdom.
1. Unfollow people who make you jealous and angry on all social media.
I had the incredible misfortune of knowing girls who posted on Instagram and Snapchat just to grind my gears and take personal yet passive aggressive jabs at me. And I kind of reveled in the fact that they did that. But it was so unhealthy, so hurtful and so last year. And I am at peace having cut all ties.
2. Realize all of these feelings were valid and real, but that you don't have to carry them anymore. You have a diploma, a closed yearbook and college enrollment fees.
I found it to be extremely immature of myself and others to hold onto these negative grudges past high school. It's a gas to bask in the highlights of high school, but once you get into negative territory, it's time to let go.
3. Keep your hope of creating greater and stronger friendships in college. Holding onto the past will only hinder your social possibilities.
After shopping with my new roommate for bathroom supplies and the cutest shower curtain in the planet, I realized life is finally going on past high school. This is the epitome of adulting.
4. Be grateful for the support you do have. Kiss your significant other, hug your family, seek out those who have not abandoned you and don't lose them in the move.
My sweet boyfriend of two years kept me company all throughout my senior year, and although he isn't Harry Styles, he's the best. The gal pal system is something I continue to long for but I am deeply grateful for all the other kinds of support I do have.
5. Be mindful of what happened in high school, and use it to connect with others. Not everyone you meet will be the mean ones that couldn't watch you rise. In fact, they might share your pain.
Connecting with people beyond the vapid individuals I was stuck with in high school is one of the coolest new situations I've encountered as college nears. I am on the edge of the rest of my life, and the mean girls are outta here.
6. Emerge victorious, because baby, you're about to start your universe. You made it out alive. And it will only get better from here.
I did it! I have all the paperwork to prove it, too. So why not leave it behind? I'm ready to take on the world.
Lead Image Credit: Tim Sohl