A loner has no regrets

The truth about the ‘glory days’ of high school


Story by Maria Rangel, staff writer

High school is supposed to be the best time of our lives. It’s marked by the teenage years–that perfect mixture of youth, no responsibilities and being just on the brink of full independence. 

Incoming freshman are filled with bright expectations–they dream about blinding stadium lights on Friday evenings; drives with their friend group around town with the car radio blasting; the token band, sports or theater club; and even the monotonous buzz of a teacher’s voice, drowned out by thoughts of that one dreamy classmate they can’t keep their eyes off of. 

For many seniors, that ideal luckily became reality. They look back on past high school days with joy and longing: “I’m going to miss those friends, that class, that lunch, that one weekend, and those outings with that school club. High school was the time of my life.”

For me, that ideal remained an ideal. I went to football games. I drove around town with the music at full volume. I joined clubs: sports, band, newspaper. I daydreamed about that cute guy in my class. By definition, my high school journey was a success. 

Yet, the Friday night lights blinded me and left a burning sensation at the back of my throat. The drives were noisy with the voice of music, but not with the voices of conversation. I was active in my clubs, but they were just to-do lists filled with checkmarks, tasks waiting to be done. I felt like a grain of sand in the presence of that one guy I liked. 

The difference between me and others was that I embarked on the high school journey alone. 

In reality, what makes or breaks high school is friends. Everyone had their friend group, the people they felt comfortable with. I floated around people, joining in to conversations, sitting with groups of people, but it never lasted. I never had those people I felt comfortable with. 

Similarly, club activities were fun for others because the club was a group, like a family. I didn’t enjoy clubs to the fullest because I wasn’t a part of the group. I was apart from the group. While others played their instruments and then chatted with friends, or ran the last mile and chugged water with their friends, or wrote their article’s last sentence and read their friend’s story, I set my instrument down, drank my water in silence and reread my own story.

Everyone else belonged. Popular people, athletes, bookworms and band nerds alike lived their own high school stories because they had friends. I felt like a character in everyone’s movie but my own. 

As my high school career comes to a close, I can reach my final verdict on the subject: high school sucks. There are no classes I’ll miss, no Friday night I wish to relive, and no favorite club activity memory. However, I look back on the past four years of my life not with remorse, but with contentment. 

Rather than being a picture-perfect pipe dream, high school was filled with tears, headaches, anxiety, and a lot of loneliness. Yet, there’s nothing I’d change. Now, as a senior with as many friends as I can count on one hand, I can affirm that every experience made me the person I am today: a resilient person. Because of a high school career I never wish to go back to, I can look to the future with confidence because I am prepared for it. 

While others will continue to live with the faded memory of the glory days of high school and long for a past that no longer exists, I will accept that high school was just a parenthesis, and not the greatest part of my life. I am glad to declare that no tears will be shed at graduation.