Reflections

As a senior in my second semester of high school, I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking lately as my time in school dwindles. I can confidently say the past four years have seen me experience a great number of changes, all of which have impacted my life.

The things I’ve learned these past four years could be considered pointless by some, crazy by others, and outlandish by the rest. This doesn’t bother me. I believe I’ve had a high school experience unlike those around me, and the lessons I’ve learned have prepared me for life more than any class could’ve. I’ve discovered more about myself than I ever imagined, and I’m thankful for the experiences I’ve had.

Here are some of the things I’ve been thinking on lately…

Academics

To say my views on academics haven’t changed would be a big understatement. Throughout high school, my approach and thought processes regarding my education and the results of it have changed completely. Coming in as a freshman, I considered high school was all about grades. My attitute towards high school learning was “I must get exemplary grades and have a 4.0 GPA, becuase if I don’t, I’ll be considered a failure.”

As time has worn on, however, I’ve realized school isn’t all about the grades and whether or not you have a high GPA. It’s learning how to think and understand content at a deeper level. That said, much of the information we “learn” in school is simply drilled into our heads and won’t necessarily help us in the long run. More emphasis is placed on memorization and repetition rather than application, which is a sad commentary on today’s educational system. Still, the skills of learning how to think critically and think deeply have helped me become not necessarily a smarter person, but a more intelligent one.


Friendships

Friendships have had a lasting impact on my high school career. The friendships and relationships I’ve gained and lost with others have taught me lessons about the people surrounding me, but more importantly, who I am.

I’ve learned the majority of friendships are fluff. Creating true friendships in high school is often hard as people have such wide ranges of maturity. Finding others who share the same amount of matuirty and level of thought as me has been one of the trickiest things I’ve dealt with. I’d run out of fingers and toes counting all the people I thought could be excellent friends, only to be unable to connect with them. The best friendships I have aren’t always with the people I do everything with, but with the people who appreciate me for who I am. These are the people who value the important things in life and act in a way that I can connect with. I believe the quote “You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with” fits perfectly for me. I am at my best when I am with the people who allow me to be myself.

Although what I said above is true, I do feel alone a great deal of time. I’ve done lots of pondering on why I always seem the outcast within a group, and always come back to the same explanation. Part of this is my own doing–I enjoy seclusion, as it saves me the trouble of worrying over small issues. More importantly, however, is the fact I lack the characteristics needed to connect with the people around me. Decorah High is a fairly small school, so the pool of people with an intellectual desire for depth in life–the sort of people I wish to be with–is quite small. It is my hope that college will allow me to make worthwhile and long-lasting friendships.


Relationships

Relationships have influenced my world immensely. I didn’t have many relationships in high school, but the one I did has changed me. It all boils down to one word.

Love.

I only dated once in high school, but it was an awakening for me. My brief stint as boyfriend during my junior year exposed me to love, an emotion I had never really felt before. It consumed me, and the feeling of euphoria that accompanied it is unparalleled. I learned though love that there is so much more to the world than I had ever thought before. All it took was a single girl to open my eyes to all the wonderful, simple things that can make life joyous and worthwhile. Love makes life worthwhile.

On the same token, however, I learned of the cruelty of life. Life isn’t fair. It can kick you to the dirt and be downright miserable. Losing love caused this for me, but I believe I’ve become stronger from it. Learning how to pick myself up and start afresh has allowed me to take on life with a new mindset. Life is all about perspective, and love has allowed me to discover new ways to view the world.


Conformity

The idea of conformity has been the biggest thing on my mind lately. I keep finding myself disagreeing with the rules and expectations that are placed on me. So much of high school is based on following rules and doing extra things in order to please those around me. I can confidently say that I am sick of it. Sick of following the rules. Sick of doing everything I’m expected to do. Sick of spending all of my time doing things for people I’ll never see again. I’ve read many blogs posts on how life is most meaningful when you focus on doing things for your own personal well being (and satisfaction) rather than for others. I couldn’t agree more.

All this thought has made me question what I really want to do with my life past high school. So many people have asked me lately, “What do you plan on majoring in/what are your career plans?”, and I’ve told them the same answer (“I’m thinking possibly business”) every time. The more I think about it, however, the more I’m unsure on whether this path will be best for me. I feel I’ve always been expected to go to college and get a practical degree and a steady job, but I’m beginning to question the latter parts of those expectations. Do I have to get a practical degree? Do I have to get a steady, employed position? Do I have to make significant money so I can live a comfortable life? I’m leaning towards living life on my own terms, or non-conforming, and the prospect of doing this excites me. I’d be able to live how I want to, without the pressures and expectations of everyone weighing me down. With all that said, I’ll have to wait and see how the next couple months and beginning of college treats me and go from there.

In conclusion, there is uncertainty on the horizon, and my future is unknown. If I’ve learned one long-lasting lesson in high school, it’s that everything seems to work out well in the end. Here’s to hoping that continues…