Dear High School, you weren’t half bad.

11/9/15

//You can move all over the world but regardless of whatever your life looks like it’s still the places you left that pushed you into whoever you are.//

High School’s a lot like that 1st part-time job you never fully decided if you liked or not. You don’t hate it and you meet some of the most amazing people, but a large percent of the time there are other things you would have rather been doing. Regardless, you go, you skip a few too many classes or call in sick a few times, and when you leave you never really recognize the effect it had on you until a little while later.

In high school I might have remained a nobody in my own mind for the duration of my four years. But at the end of the first month of school I was, to at least one person, “the girl with the sick shoes.”

Lime green skater sneakers with bright red laces (that certainly did not come as a package deal) was apparently my staple identity when I entered grade nine. Looking back on those shoes I’m not sure why I thought it was a good idea to wear Christmas on my feet year round, but then again, I don’t think anything I wore back then screamed that I had any sense of fashion. More or less it screamed, look at me, I’m an awkward and uncoordinated grade nine but my shoes are neon so I’m certainly hard to miss! I guess I owe it to the ugly shoes that I didn’t get missed.

In my mind, high school attempts to force you into somebody. And then everything that comes afterwards involves you going out into the world and shaking things up because you’re not content with what high school gave you. I was far from content. But I have to admit, high school taught me a lot. And majority of the knowledge I gained in my 1st year I owe to a specific group of guys who either directly or indirectly taught me exactly what my mother wouldn’t have wanted me to know.

How to skip class? Get your friend to call in and pretend to be your father. What does Vodka taste like? Get a group of guys to tell you its peanut free and don’t worry they’ll provide Dorrito’s the moment you find out it tastes like shit. How to dance at a high school dance? Honestly, regardless of the teaching I never could pick this one up and my ego will forever suffer every time I enter a club.

Essentially, high school teaches you things. Anything from how to shot-gun a beer to how to build a back bone out of the broken pieces of self-esteem. Some lessons are harder than others. But I never thanked high school for a thing. I left those halls as fast as I could and I spent two years at University of Guelph without barely looking back.

Now I’m in BC, the number one day-dream of grade 9-12 me and I’m a little more thankful for the trials and tribulations of high school – and I’m a little more inclined to look back on it all.

I find that when you move far away from home, before you can completely settle in to your “new life”, to some degree you must come to terms with what you left behind. For me this mostly consisted of understanding what I left behind in Guelph. But to some extent, I found myself remembering a lot of what I left behind in high school.

I never thought I was a big fan. But then a couple of weeks ago I found myself sharing endless stories from high school days in which I realized it wasn’t near as bad as I had sometimes thought it was. Largely, this is because the older you get the more minuscule high school problems become until they no longer represent problems but rather the bloopers of your adolescence. My memories prove to require a good laugh. Everyone always tells you what happens in high school won’t matter, and you don’t believe them until you’re laughing at the things that once made you cry.

It does matter though. Not in the sense that it’s problematic. But rather that belting out Taylor Swift’s Fifteen in the car with my best friend’s due to its unbelievable accuracy are the high school moments I will hang on to for the rest of my life.

You grow up, you lose friends, you gain ones and suddenly your life looks entirely different than it did a couple months ago, let alone 3-7 years ago. But you don’t forget the songs you sang on the drives you took with the people that mattered when high school problems were too big for the fragility of the teenage mind.

You don’t forget the friendships that formed and fell apart, that time you stole a golf cart, or the time you drank too much. You don’t forget what your cottage looks like at 2am during exam week, or what Bloomingdale Fields looked like at sunset. I can walk the inside of my high school in my mind, I can tell you the exact place I sat when my friend said “He touched your boob?!” and I can tell you every place I cried. I can tell you that the greatest girl talk’s happened every day on my walks home from school with a friend who lived only minutes away. And that the friendships that became prominent in grade 9 or grade 12 I still consider some of the most important friendships regardless of how often I see them.

High school was forever ago, and what’s happened since has certainly been a lot of growing up. But now that I’m here (in the place where I once had to write a persuasive high school essay about in order to convince my parents to let me move here), I’m thankful for what happened in high school. At the very least, it’s provided a lot to laugh about.

 

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