Being that many of my coworkers are teenagers, it’s only natural that my mind often drifts to memories of my high school days. Those were the good old days. I would say that I had an average high school experience. I wasn’t super popular, yet I wasn’t an outcast either. I was in the marching band for two years and always had a good reputation ( I was shy so it’s not like I ever caused problems) amongst my peers. Academically, I was somewhat average. My older sister was the far better student of the two.
She was a member of the National Honor Society and a junior marshal for her class. I believe that you had to be in the top 10 percent of your class to serve as a marshal.
I was always in class and did my homework, but was never a consistent honor roll student. I made it a few times, but if there was a semester where I took a challenging math course, then I could count on not making the cut. Strangely, that same pattern followed me throughout college. I really believe if you took away every math course I took in high school and college then I would’ve been a regular on the honor roll and dean’s list. Oh well, I can’t go back into a time machine.
At bible study earlier this week, I brought one of my high school band pictures to show to the kids. Interestingly, they were all shocked to discover how much I looked the same. I interact with the majority of the high school students at my church on a regular basis. I’m always inquiring about how their school week went and how their grades are coming along. Occasionally, I have to check on the boys to make sure they are not busy chasing girls too much (which they’re not; they‘re good guys)!
There is a family at church whose two boys are both members of the marching band. Being that we have that common interest, I find myself talking to them and asking all sorts of questions about their performances. I jokingly tell them that my time in the band were the glory days of my life.
The thing I realize now, that I never grasped when I was that age, is how much being in high school is all about the now. There is very little thinking about the future; only the present. Every teen doesn’t think that way, but the vast majority does. It’s all about the latest trends, having the hottest boyfriend/girlfriend, being the most popular, and fitting in with the general masses. A funny thing is that all of those thought came to me while buying a pair of shoes yesterday at Wal-Mart.
Today I was buying a new pair of Starter brand sneakers for my job. I spend a lot of my time outside at work on hard pavement bringing in carts and moving around for other things. Naturally, I have to get a new pair of work shoes every six months. I usually get the same black pair of Velcro-laced shoes for about ten bucks. Instead, while browsing for another pair my eyes came across this very sweet looking pair of grey and black sneakers. They were around $13, but I’m not going to lie, I would rock them shoes anywhere around town. That’s how good they look. As I was driving back home I thought to myself how much time can change one’s perception.
In high school, I never would’ve been caught dead wearing a pair of non-name brand shoes. My high school was mostly African American and unfortunately a high amount of importance was placed on wearing expensive designer clothes. If you even looked like you wore something that didn’t have a major label attached to it then it was very possible to be ridiculed. I was always a well dressed person and my parents made sure that my sister and I always had what we needed, but they were not about to go and spend their hard earned money on a pair of shoes for us that cost $200. For the record, I’ve never bought a pair of shoes for myself over $80.
While high school can and should be one of the most carefree periods in a person’s life, for some, it can seem like the exact opposite. Being made fun of never feels good, regardless of the age. Teens can be naturally crueler and with bullying being such a nationwide issue, it’s kind of easy to see how a kid could enter their school with a gun. I’m not condoning the actions of people who bring guns into their school and shoot people up. There is no excuse for that type of behavior. I just used this example to show how persistent bullying can eventually cause a person to go over the edge. On the flipside, some who committed those crimes weren’t victims of bullying at all, but had deep-rooted mental issues they should’ve gotten professional help for.
The most ironic part about high school is that pretty much all of your preconceived notions that you have about people and society at that age will change very quickly after you graduate. People who I thought were so popular and super cool ten years ago are now the very people I see on Facebook and think to myself: “did I really think they were all that???”
On the other hand, those who I felt were jerks or treated me with a snotty attitude are now some of the friendliest people. When high school ends real life begins and all of the social cliques that separated people seem to fade away. People go to college, work, get married, and start to discover what life is all about. The people you always thought were different from you are really more like you than you could ever imagine. At the end of the day we’re all just trying to get ahead and make the best of life.
High school is an exciting time. It’s all about beginning to discover the person you will be for the rest of your life. The road can be bumpy at times and your peers may treat you stupidly. However, it’s a moment in your life that will provide you with countless memories. So to any high school kids reading this, my advice to you is to live it up and enjoy.