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Don’t peak in high school

Dylan Schwartz, Design Editor

Prepare for brutal honesty. I mean no holds barred, no punches held, stream of consciousness containing everything that’s been on my mind for the last six months to a year. And please, hold your judgements for your Snapchat group texts and random conversations in the halls.

If I were to put my high school “career” in a vacuum, judge it, and try to figure out where exactly my best moments were, I would have to say I “peaked” in junior year. Now, when I say “peaked” I mean for high school, not the rest of my life.

I was funny, witty, and smart. I knew so, too. I had interesting skills and a lot of things going on on the side that excited me every day.

Then, senior year rolled around. The drinking, drugging, vaping, and various other rebellious acts that were simply a sideshow to a really great class of kids became what defined this year for me. The competition to be popular by who could ingest the most psychoactive substances with the “coolest” people on Friday and Saturday nights took me by the shoulders and said “If you can’t accomplish this, you wont be happy.”

And I believed it. I jumped down the rabbit hole head first. My intuition came back to save me, however. The further I went into this abyss, the more I realized there was little to nothing there. High school is a facade. The romantic, indie movie life that high schoolers do their best to recreate simply does not exist. I climbed the ladder, too. I was the one waving the American flag at a football game. I threw the parties, I was the man. Or at least I thought so.
Then, came the slap in the face. I had a significant fall from grace that truly made me reevaluate.

What’s the point of all this? Who are my real friends? What if I messed up bad and I can’t take it back? These were the questions floating around in my head at the time, and they kept me up at night. They tugged at me daily and brought tears to my eyes. I had no reason to cry, however. Everything I needed was back home, in my past, surrounding me.

My dad always told me about the people who were, not in so many words, trash to him back in high school. He launched a successful career after being a “loser” in high school, and didn’t attend a high school reunion until his 30th anniversary. He noticed some of the people who were awful to him during high school shape up to be well-adjusted adults. And some of them didn’t. Some of them were forever stuck in high school, wishing they could relive it, while my dad wanted to relive college.

I saw therapists. I’m not ashamed to write that in an article and post it online for the whole school to see it. I didn’t see therapists because, “oh no my high school experience is going down the drain.” I saw them because I realized I was simply differently wired. Though, though I was naive back then, I stood up during senior retreat and explained why this is. I lost my mom when I was ten. Yeah, your condolences, whatever. Life goes on. Wisdom was what this trauma granted me. And wisdom was what it took for me to realise losing what I thought was everything in high school (which turned out to literally be being a bum) wasn’t a big deal.

Where am I going with all this? It’s simple. Don’t peak in high school. I almost did, and it cost me. Luckily, my teenage brain and fate kept me from falling into that trap. Some things just work out.

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Don’t peak in high school