Four Years Later

Four Years Later By Sarit Scher - Photo by Elena Eisenstadt

August 24, 2016

I am so nervous! I am starting high school today! HIGH SCHOOL! You heard me right! I am so nervous that things will be awkward between my friends and me. We were so close in middle school, basically sisters, and I am afraid that we will have drifted apart over the summer. Even though I saw all of my friends during the summer, I cannot forget what all of my teachers told me on our last day of middle school:

“In high school, you will all find yourselves. That might mean that you will drift apart and find new friends, so cherish the time that you spent with your friends in middle school.”

Such an uplifting way to end a major chapter in your life, am I right?

I cannot seem to get that message out of my head! What if things are so weird between us? What if I cannot get over the weirdness and I lose those friendships forever? What if I make no new friends in high school? There are going to be kids from all over South Florida in my class! What if I do not become friends with any of them? Then I will have no friends from middle school and no new friends so I will be alone! ALONE!! I cannot even think about that!

What if my teachers hate me? I had such kind and amazing teachers in middle school! What if the teachers in high school are horrible and mean? I cannot last four years with teachers that hate me! How will I get into college that way?

That is another thing: College is so soon! I have watched countless television shows that talk about people going off to college and it seems so scary! How will I survive without my parents? I am also not excited to take the SAT and ACT to get into college! I heard that they are really hard tests. What if I do not do well on them? I will not get into college!

The most important concern, though, is what to do if I crash into a senior boy in the hallway! They are huge! What do I do if I accidentally run into one on my way to class? Do I start a conversation? Do I just walk away, head bowed in shame, because it was my fault that I ran into him? What do I do?

Well, my mom is calling me to get into the car to go to school, my first day of high school! Wish me luck!

August 22, 2019

Today is the first day of the last year of high school. I am now officially a senior. It feels so weird to say that! How have four years gone by so quickly? I still clearly remember being scared on my first day of freshman year, unsure what my high school years would look like. Now, looking back on my time in high school, I can confidently say that it has been the best time of my life. The friends that I have made, the teachers that I have had, the activities that I have participated in have all shaped me into the person that I am today and have been experiences that I will never forget.

Before I embark on my last year of high school, I have some advice that I want to give anyone who reads this:

My first piece of advice is to not be afraid to meet new people. Going into freshman year, I was scared to meet new people. I was afraid of what they would think of me. I was afraid if I was becoming friends with the “right people.” I now know that I should not have worried. The friends that I have made over the course of my high school experience are some of the best people I have ever met and have essentially gotten me through high school. They were there when I needed a shoulder to cry on. They were there for sleepovers when we stayed up until two o’clock in the morning just talking and laughing. They were there to cheer me on for all of my accomplishments. They were there to help me with schoolwork when I was out of school with an illness. They were there when I needed them. Those are the kinds of friends that everyone should have the ability to make, the friends that will be with you during your good times and your bad times.

While I am on the topic of friends, I want to address the topic of popularity. What does this even mean? What defines someone as “popular” and someone as “not popular”? As someone who was so caught up in the idea being part of the “popular group” before entering high school, I can assure you that it does not matter whether you are popular or not. Popularity is simply one person or a group of people wanting to seem superior to others. It is not worth risking who you are in order to be “popular.” Find the friends that care about you and you will be popular among them. That is the only type of popular that you need because,10 years after graduating high school, nobody will remember who was “popular” and who was not; people will just remember who their friends were and you will want to be included in that group.

My second piece of advice is to form relationships with your teachers. Contrary to popular belief, teachers are real, normal people who want to be treated that way. If given the opportunity, start a conversation with your teachers about a topic other than schoolwork. You might be surprised by what you can learn. Take the time to listen to their life stories; everyone has a story to tell if you are willing to listen. Do not be quick to judge your teachers; just because one person dislikes a teacher does not mean that you will, too. Your teachers care about you and how you turn out—not just as a student, but as a productive member of society as well. Try and thank your teachers after every class. Saying “thank you” is an easy way to let someone know that you appreciate what they are doing for you. Teachers do not get thanked enough for the hard work that they put into teaching every day.

My third piece of advice is to take your schoolwork seriously. Even though playing video games or hanging out at the mall all day sounds like a lot of fun, it honestly will not get you anywhere in life. Take interesting classes in high school. You are more likely to enjoy going to a class and doing the work for it if you are interested in the subject. Make sure to enjoy the process of learning; do not just do your schoolwork so that you can get good grades and end up getting into a good college. Learning is better when you enjoy doing it. That is a fact. But do not get so caught up in your schoolwork that you do not have a social life. Go out to that basketball game if you want to. Go out to dinner and a movie with friends if they invite you. In five years, you will not remember how long you studied for a math test, or even the grade that you received on it, but you will remember the times that you saw a basketball team win a championship for the first time or the time when you laughed so hard that your drink came out of your nose at a restaurant.

My fourth piece of advice is to participate in as many activities as you want. Do you have an interest in learning how to act? Join the school play! Have you wanted to learn a certain sport for your whole life but never got the chance? Join the team for that sport! Do you have an interest in learning about computers? Join a coding club at school! Do you want to pursue your love of writing? Join a school publication! Do you want to help others outside of school? Help out in a local organization or charity! There are so many opportunities to take advantage of both in and out of school. Do not let those opportunities go to waste.

My last piece of advice, which ties all the previous pieces of advice together, is to not care what others think of you. There will always be people who judge you; you cannot change that. But you can change how you react. So instead of conforming to their image of you, show them the image of you. If you feel like being on the basketball team even though none of your friends are on it, join anyway! You will not regret it and you will have the chance to make more friends. Do not be afraid to let people see the “real you”; people will love you for it, and the right people will gravitate toward you. I can attest to the fact that the only things that I regret from high school are the things that I did not do.

My mom is calling me to get to the car. Wish me luck on my last first day of high school!

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