The Long, Winding Road of High School

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Walking into the high school for the first time in September of 2011 was quite the experience. I was a 5’3” lanky kid with long puffy hair walking into room 610 to take part in English 9, my first ever high school class. I was into making YouTube videos and classic rock music. Being social wasn’t really my thing.

That was the beginning of a journey I couldn’t have expected. Sure, I’ve had my problems with high school and gotten in my fair share of trouble, car accidents and relationships, but high school taught me so much that I needed to learn before my journey out into the real world. It taught me some great things, like how awesome it is to be able to miss school and not feel guilty or that you actually can go to Chipotle and back before lunch is over. It also taught me some not so great things, like arguing endlessly with teachers doesn’t really give you the satisfaction it should, or that going to parties on a school night doesn’t bode well for the following day at school.

On a serious note, though, high school told me that this world is my oyster, and as long as I surround myself with the right people I can go as far as I want. You can’t trust everyone, and society has its perils, but you will find people to confide in and opportunities that you will thoroughly enjoy. My friend group at the beginning of high school doesn’t even remotely resemble what it is now; it changed for the better.

Getting older means more independence, and with more independence comes more responsibility. Whether it’s getting a job and having to support yourself, getting a car and paying for it or both, every high school kid gains more responsibility through their four years. The thing high school taught me the most was how to handle new experiences— there were definitely times where I failed at handling my responsibilities— and each new experience came along with more knowledge.

It really hit me this year, when I got into a car accident in Birmingham. I was pulling out of a parking lot and hit another parked car. I had no idea what to do. I wasn’t with my parents and there was no one in the other car, and I had to make a quick, responsible decision. Instead of driving away or freaking out, I left a note with my phone number on the other car and drove home and had a talk with my family. It wasn’t any big event, but that really opened my eyes to the fact that I was maturing and taking more responsibility in stride.

I still have so much to learn; I mean, I haven’t even entered college yet. But there are definitely so many different things I learned throughout high school that only the environment I was in could have taught me. My experiences were different than everyone else’s, but every person has their own obstacles they had to overcome.

I would like to give thanks to Spectrum News Magazine. Once I decided that I loved journalism, I joined the Spectrum class. That was sophomore year. I am still in that class today. That class has taught me more than just writing skills; it has taught me that sometimes you need to go the extra mile on your own to be successful. It taught me life experiences I couldn’t have been taught in a classroom. Going out in the world and covering events and dealing with people (interviewees) that didn’t understand my side of the story really taught me to be better and taught me to go out with everything that I do.
A couple of bumps in the road (I mean, how many flat tires have I gotten?) later, and here I am. It seems fitting that I’m sitting here once again in room 610 writing my senior memoir as I’m a week away from leaving high school forever. I may be 5’9” with short hair and have an obsession with hip-hop, but at the end of the day, I’m the same kid that wandered into English 9 completely lost in the fall of 2011. Just this time, it’s entering another stage of life.