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I told myself I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to move on, to move out, and to leave. I was comfortable in the life I was living. I had become a passenger on the high school merry-go-round, where I had been for three previous years. I had no problem watching my future go around and around and around... Until they tried to kick me off.
They told me it was my time to move on, to leave my merry-go-round and try something new, the POST-SECONDARY ROLLERCOASTER. What? How could I? I hated the rollercoaster. So many ups and downs, thrills and spills, that wasn’t my idea of fun at all.
Who were they to tell me I couldn’t ride the merry-go-round? If I wanted to, I could. I knew my rights; life, liberty and freedom to pick your own amusement park ride! So, I snuck off of the conveyor belt of adventurous teens and got back into the line for the always faithful, merry-go-round of high school.
Yes, I made the decision to return to high school after graduation. Crazy, isn’t it? And you won’t believe this; the decision had nothing to do with grades (pauses for ridicule). Of course, my marks weren’t perfect last year, but good enough to get into at least a handful of universities in Ontario.
The problem was that I was afraid for my life to change, to move on, but at the same time, I could not bear to attend a local university in fear of losing the opportunity to go away entirely.
So here I am, back at Henry Street High School for one more year. I walk through the same school, the same slight B.O. musk in the hallways, the same classrooms, and the same yellow fountain water. Yet, the word ‘same’ is not what I would use to describe the situation.
The hallways, normally flooded with familiar faces, stare back blankly with more acne than I remember. To say that I don’t know anyone would be an exaggeration. There are a handful of students who I do know, but the comfort of knowing and entire grade full of students is gone. The unity I once felt with my class has graduated, while I remain here for another year alone.
Fellow students weren’t the only ones to leave. Apparently they took my motivation with them in their suitcases. Trying to write assignments, and study for tests takes so much more effort than it did before. I don’t need any of these credits. I must be insane, taking a class on the human body where I get quizzed everyday for a pat on the back and brownie points*. Needless to say, I sometimes hit the snooze button.
It may seem like I hate being at school now but it’s really more of a mild disdain. Although, it does feel a little like jail, without the cavity searches. Now that I’m back on the merry-go-round, I’ve realized, I don’t belong here anymore. Funny isn’t it? I made the decision to stay home, fearing that my life would change. But of course it will change! You can’t avoid growing up unless your Peter Pan (or Adam Sandler), that’s the first lesson of puberty. Whether I’m at Henry Street High School, Whitby or anywhere else in the world, my life will change.
The people who supported my choice to go back to high school told me it would help, make things easier. But what has it done? I don’t need it and I don’t enjoy it. After all this time riding around in a circle, the motion sickness has gotten too much for me to handle (and the cafeteria food isn’t helping).
I suppose I should have had this revelation a year from now in an eye opening epiphany. I’ve always been too smart for my own good (at least that's what my mom always told me). The point of coming back to high school wasn’t to give me one last hurrah of comfort, it was to make me uncomfortable enough that I would have no problem leaving! I’ve got to hand it to them. The school system is trickier than we give it credit for.
So would I recommend taking a ‘victory lap’? Well that depends.
If you feel confident enough to try the rollercoaster, go for it. But if you think you’re not ready, stay. Trust me, you’ll get sick of high school so fast, the thought of a wild rollercoaster ride will be exactly the kind of thing you want in your life.

*actual brownie not included



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