4 Schools in 4 Years
A personal account of one young woman's journey through high school, the triumphs and defeats, the friendships and loneliness, and everything in between.
October 6, 2017
“You should enjoy being in high school. This will be the most memorable time of your life.”
That’s a lie. High school is horrible. I spent the last three years reliving my freshmen year. Technically I’m a senior, but each year I would change high schools.
Starting fresh seemed fun. You could portray yourself differently and change how you were formerly known. Let’s say if you did something embarrassing at one school, the next school wouldn’t know anything about the incident.
Changing schools doesn’t change who are.
Changing schools doesn’t change who are. You can’t be someone else; you can only be you.
My actual first day as a freshman, I wasn’t able to get out of the car, and I cried.
Freshmen year is mortifying. You get tossed into the deep end of the pool without anything to help you. During my freshmen year, I lost friends who I thought were my best friends, I was talked about by people I had never spoken to before, and I was naive.
I wanted the stereotypical high school experience you see in the movies: I’m going to have a lot of friends, go to parties, get asked on a date, be really into school spirit with my friends, and potentially meet the love of my life.
To get involved in school, I became a cheerleader. This was the first time I did a sport. I was never athletic growing up. My mom was scared that I would hurt myself so instead of putting me in soccer or something athletic, she gave me activity books during the summer.
I sucked at everything besides academics. I did like cheerleading, but the unnecessary drama was too much. The other cheerleaders would tease me and call me a giraffe which is understandable since I’m considered tall for a girl according to Hawai’i standards.
From being unathletic to running a mile every day to running up bleachers, I was in the best shape in my life. We had the option of running two laps (the equivalent of half a mile) in under three minutes. If we did that we wouldn’t have to run the full mile but that meant I had to continuously run two laps.
Of course, I could do this. I’ve done this before.
I overestimated myself.
As I approached the end of my second lap, I started hyperventilating. I couldn’t make it. I went under the bleachers, brought my knees to my chest and started crying. I couldn’t stop hyperventilating. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t know what was happening. Surprisingly nobody came to check up on me. So much for being a part of a team.
There are many other incidents to prove freshman year sucked, but I’m not the only victim of high school.
I’m not the only victim of high school.
When I was fourteen, nude photos of my classmates were released. You could get arrested for possession of child pornography, but of course, nobody knew that. It’s sickening how common this is.
Also being a teenager, you’re hit with the pressures of society. I blame hormones. A little too much estrogen and testosterone pumping through the body.
“Freshman year was a learning experience; next year is going to be way better.”
I still didn’t learn anything apparently and still had hope high school would be like the movies. Sophomore year I had the chance to move back home. Back to town where I belong, I thought. I set fire to bridges and severed ties to anything from my previous high school. I was coming home.
School wasn’t the issue for me. People were the issue for me. High schoolers are judgemental. When you walk into a cafeteria, you can feel the glares and taste the judgment in the air. You don’t just feel it; you taste it. That’s how intense it is. I never really hated a teacher. I give teachers credit for dealing with hundreds of not-yet-adults and not-so-much children every day for years.
When you walk into a cafeteria, you can feel the glares and taste the judgment in the air. You don’t just feel it; you taste it.
My core classes at this new school were taught by a husband and wife, this cute Korean couple. My classes consisted of about eight people max. The class was a combination of sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Each grade learning the same thing but at different levels. I loved this school so much. I was even a cheerleader again with a team that was very caring and full of spirit. This school made me feel welcomed.
With every good thing, there are flaws. The structure of the school was gelatin.
When you give a group of teenagers the option of doing work or doing “other work” it is meant for disaster.
I spent the first quarter of the year playing this online game called “Tanki.” Legitimately, the entire class would play with each other because all our work was online. We never really touched paper.
I’m more for traditional learning. I enjoy reading from textbooks and answering questions on worksheets. I would pass all my core classes with a breeze, but I would struggle in electives which everybody is supposed to love and enjoy.
As much as I loved this school I had to leave once again. I didn’t tell anybody, only my teachers. I didn’t even tell my beloved friends. I couldn’t. They were great but toxic.
They started diving into heavy drugs while I watched. It’s very heartbreaking to witness something like that. When I left I was heartbroken. I had to do what was best for me. Breaking up with friends is harder than breaking up with a person you were dating.
This new school reminded me a lot of high school number #1. My spirits broken, hopes and dreams lost and forgotten. I might be exaggerating, but I didn’t do much to get involved in school anymore. It was just high school number #3.
At this school, a lot of people knew me from social media but never approached or said anything to me. It was like as if I were being watched. I spent my breaks alone in the library. I made friends eventually but I never really fit in. They just adopted me as if I were a lost puppy.
I spent my breaks alone in the library. I made friends eventually but I never really fit in.
My new friends were good influences. I did fairly well academically. All my teachers genuinely cared about the students and wanted them all to graduate on time.
This, however, was not going to be my last high school.
I could’ve stayed at any of these high schools, but I chose not to. I desperately wanted to fit in and live this fantasy I had about high school. I wanted friends who would dress up during Spirit Week, come to football games and cheer to show our school pride. I wanted to feel normal.
Along with the struggles of being a teenager. I struggled with my mental health and home life. I would run out of class crying. My anxiety would kick in. It felt as if I were floating in the air, unable to move. All I could do was watch as my life went on without me.
At the start of what should have been my Senior Year, I was out of school for three months. When I finally did enroll, I was in a daze. I was just getting used to waking up early and doing school work while my classmates were already in mid-quarter. I’m still adjusting.
Senior year is supposed to go by fast. I suppose it is. I still feel like a freshmen. For me, this is crunch time. I have to walk with my class and get that diploma — prove to everybody who has ever doubted me. Yet there’s an extremely high possibility that I won’t graduate from Kalani.
Senior year is supposed to go by fast. I suppose it is. I still feel like a freshmen.
I might not just move to a different high school but an entirely different continent and country. Now there’s a high chance I will be moving to Italy.
If you to ask me my opinion on high school, I would probably say, “It’s horrible. It is beyond terrifying” … But I have a weird sense of humor.
To me, high school is a time to figure out who you are. It’s okay to mess up now while we’re young. My life might forever be chaotic, but it is my life.
Enjoy being a teenager because right after graduation we’re pretty much signing papers and we’ll forever be paying off student loans. The drama you have now as a teenager will not matter after you get that diploma. You probably won’t see most of your classmates again. High school will just be a memory after that.