A single question lingers in the mind of every high school student at one point or another. It hangs like a dark cloud of ignorance waiting to release a few drops of reality on an unsuspecting victim. The answer decides all, or seems to at the time of approaching deadlines. Deadly consequences. The ultimate question of truth? “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
I would have to say, “A rock star.” Despite growing up in an Advanced Placement-type environment, I have always filled the position of black sheep. Don’t get me wrong, I get the grades and always seem to stagger around that “tenth in the class” position. Other students refer to “the AP kids” as a tight-knit group of brainy math geeks and intellectual fiends who spend all their time studying. I like to study. I like the communal feeling, too. You could even say my 4.3 GPA fits in just fine with the stereotype. But I’ve always wanted something more. Perhaps that something is just what I’ve always had anyway: an unusual high-school experience made up of ordinary things.
Throughout most of high school I have lived with my mom and younger sister. I’ve never had any close friends of the same religion or birthplace. I work at an arts and crafts store and teach a bunch of little girls how to make picture frames from popsicle sticks while trying to find my own creativity. I play bass guitar in a rock band and revel in the glory of a few live shows. I try to balance my classes and position of vice president of the National Honor Society with a music theory class, a job, and a social life.
Thus, the most important part of my life is balance. I feel like I can fit in almost anywhere, whether a last-minute study session or with the boys at band practice. And oddly, the multifaceted environment of high school, in which I fuse with a variety of groups, has made me more of an individual. These service organizations, after-school review classes and circles of friends all play a part in shaping my understanding and intellect. Because I’ve grown up with an array of influences, my personality has grown as a collection of them all, and every piece makes my high-school experience distinct. It makes it mine.
So, even though I’d like to say that I’ll end up touring the world with my guitar in 20 years, I really hope I’ll be in an English classroom with a Master’s degree. I guess I just like to keep my options open.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.