I Regret To Inform You All That I Miss High School
There, I said it. I’m not happy about it, but it’s the truth. I miss high school.
When I was in high school, I hated it. Not just a normal amount, the way every teen does, but like, extra hated it. I resented the idea (and still kind of do) that kids are legally required to go to school every single day for thirteen years of their life (except summer and weekends). Like, that’s a lot of time. For something that at the time seemed so purposeless and not helpful to actually living life.
I despised school not just at the individual level, but at the institutional level. I feel that at its core, school is a beneficial thing, however I also believe that it is a deeply flawed system. Not just in academic ways, but in disciplinary ways, as well (that’s a post for another time).
Throughout high school, I couldn’t wait to be done. I wanted to be done so badly that I went to community college my senior year of high school so I could leave school a semester early. I told myself I would never, ever miss high school, and that anyone who missed high school was deluded.
Well, joke’s on me, because I started missing it about two years ago. And I graduated in 2017! So it didn’t take me long for me to wish I could go back.
I’ve been trying to figure out what it is I miss. Is it my friends? Is it the days where teachers brought in Oreo Balls and let us play Jeopardy? Is it playing kickball and your crush telling you “nice catch”? Is it the super gross chocolate milk cartons? Or is it that feeling of having your whole life ahead of you, the future being some bright, intangible thing you look forward to seeing? Is it less about high school and more about me missing my youth and carefree days where my biggest problem was figuring out the answer to number thirteen on the math homework? Do I miss the time before my mental health was garbo and I had who I thought was the love of my life by my side through it all? I think it’s a combination of many things, and many people.
I didn’t expect I’d miss my teachers so much, either. Sometimes I wish I could just walk into the school and go say hi to them all. But some of them aren’t even there anymore. I miss having teachers that cared about me, or at least knew my name. In a lecture hall of over a hundred people, you feel so insignificant. For me, the more I care about a teacher, or feel like they value me as part of their class, the more likely I am to try, to do the work and put in effort. I miss having a teacher who believed in me.
Going to school made me get up at seven every day, which at the time I hated more than anything in the world. But now I can’t bring myself to get out of bed until around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. It may have been annoying, but school did keep me on some kind of “good” schedule. It gave me a reason to get up, get dressed, do something, anything with my day. And I miss having that regularity. That structure that I cannot enforce upon myself no matter how hard I try.
When I was sixteen, I was pretty much the only one in my friend group to have a license. I drove us all around; to Walmart, Waffle House, the movies, the mall, pretty much anywhere teens could go that didn’t cost a lot of money. I felt like I was needed, like my role in the friend group was important. I don’t have anything like that anymore. I think I miss feeling essential amongst my peers.
I miss feeling like I was special in other ways, too. In elementary school, I was one of four kids in my grade in the advanced studies group. I always nailed standardized testing, and my reading level was off the hook. In high school, I wasn’t that same level of super smart kid, things were actually hard now. Like geometry. Fuck geometry.
Despite not being as smart anymore, I was still thought of as such. It’s just what I had been known as my whole life up to that point, so people still thought I was. I was still absolutely crushing standardized testing — I got the highest ACT score in my class — but suddenly I didn’t understand things anymore. I had to drop a class for the first time in my life because I could not grasp chemistry and I was failing. My reading comprehension diminished as soon as I started reading 1984. I felt stupid for the first time in my life, but at least everyone still thought I was the smart kid.
Now, after being in the real world and having been at Miami, I’m left with an inferiority complex on top of my gifted kid complex. And I miss the days when I didn’t have these feelings. I miss school because it made me feel good enough. Now I feel like I’m not.
I also miss high school because parties were exciting, and fun, and in college, they’re just boring. In high school, I knew who I was around, and in college, everyone was strangers. In high school, people’s parents would order some pizzas for the party or something. In college, you’d be lucky to be offered anything other than a bucket of Jungle Juice. I know that’s kind of a silly thing to miss, but parties in high school were really more just like hangouts and bonfires. In college they’re loud house parties where someone ends up at McCollough Hyde Hospital from getting alcohol poisoning at Brick.
I don’t know where I’m going with this. Really I’m just lamenting over a time in my life that’s gone forever and I wish I could have it back. I have a hard time letting go of things, and that includes the past. I also have a hard time accepting that there are certain things in my life I will never get back, things I can never do again, things that are just permanently in my memories and they’ll just have to stay there. It just makes me sad.
Do you miss high school? Tell me why (or why not) in the comments. And as always, have a great day.