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I used to think that these high school years were pointless, besides being the stepping stone to living in the real world. Endless hours of school work, rallies, writing for the school newspaper: by the second month of freshman year it all became routine.
On the exterior, everything appeared to be going smoothly. I would walk to school with my neighbor, or my sister would drive us, even though we lived less than a mile away from the school. Soon though, being a senior, she decided that it didn’t matter whether or not she was on time for her first class, so I had to walk.
It was fine though, really.
Being the fourteen-year-old that I was, some mornings it was difficult to leave the house, especially in the winter when it was 30 degrees outside. I’d always get to school right as the bell rings, just having enough time to greet a few friends before I reached French class. And so the day would begin.
As the class periods turned into days, and the days into weeks, I lived the typical teenage life.
It was perfect. Really.
I had a date for Homecoming (despite my friend being upset because she wanted to go to Homecoming with him), I was easing myself into the role of being a journalist for the school newspaper (despite the long nights I spent with writer’s block, unable to finish a sentence), and I was trying out for the school softball team (despite the feeling of not being good enough, and the horrible aches I’d wake up to the next morning).
It was fine, really.
One night in November, I had a Gilmore Girls marathon. Gilmore Girls has always been my favorite show, ever since elementary school. I was watching the last season, where the main characters leave college and set out to make lives for themselves in the real world. Watching this, I sensed myself getting anxious. Anxious to make something of myself, to finally have control over my life. Anxious to become the struggling journalist I strive to be.
I felt silly worrying about boys, or stressing about being liked by my friends. It would all be over in less than four years. What really mattered to me was what happened after high school: getting into a good college, going to Columbia for grad-school — the best journalism school out there — and landing a job at a newspaper.
What good did fretting about the superficial things in life do when they don’t help me accomplish my main goal? I sat on my couch, Gilmore Girls paused, frustrated. Frustrated because I couldn’t speed time up. Frustrated because I had to live in a drama-oriented world, filled with unimportance that in no way contributed to who I wanted to be. Frustrated because I was bored.
I was fine though, really.
But then I remembered something I once told my friend who was complaining about being bored. I said, “Only boring people get bored. Interesting people take advantage of their boredom and find something interesting to do.”
So I changed my perspective. Just like that.
I chose to take what I wanted to do later in life and incorporate it into my juvenile, high school life. In addition to being a staff writer for the school paper, I decided that by next year, I would work my way up to editor. I decided that I would work more on my novel that has remained unfinished since two summers ago. I decided to start blogging. I decided to keep a journal. I decided to attend a writing camp in New York City next summer, instead of the one I’ve been going to in Oregon for the past three years. I decided to make a change.
It’s hard to tell how the change has affected my life thus far. I still feel the same. I still have the same friends for the most part. I still walk to school in the cold, greet my friends, and begin my day in French class.
But now, when people ask me how high school is treating me, I know my answer. When I reflect back on my high school years, I won’t see years of struggling to be on top, or drinking and partying like all the other high school-ers. Instead, I’ll see years of balance. Years of diligence. Years of being the only person who I know how to be: me.
And that’s just fine. Really.