Some Thoughts On The End Of High School

Yesterday marked my last day of formal classes in high school. Today was our “muck-up day”. Tomorrow stuvac begins. Six exams, one assembly, and one grad ball stand now stand between me and the end of high school forever. 

My school does not let us graduate, per se, until we have completed the HSC, so while my old school has it’s grad ball tonight, we have to wait until the middle of November to call ourselves official high school graduates. 

Our muck-up day is not actually a muck-up day. We dress up and get shipped off to a random farm where we then spend the day climbing a mountain. I kid you not. We go mountain climbing (so many OH&S problems I’m not even going to try and think about). As we struggled to the summit, it came to me that the whole exercise was a metaphor. Likely an unintentional metaphor, but the half day climb represented the struggle to complete our schooling, the smiling photograph at the top a symbol of our success, the slippery slope back down a reminder that life is not always going to be easy now we’ve finished year twelve. 

The vast majority of my year are going to be partying rather hard tonight, and yet I am sitting here at 4.21pm in my track-pants and slippers, looking forward to an evening of take-away and rom-coms. I arrived at my current school in year ten, then left for six months to go to France, and then came back for senior years. Basically, I’ve been there two and a half years but many people forgot me until I came back for year eleven. I’m not super close to the 130 kids in my year. I have my small group of close friends, but have trouble remembering the names of everyone else. And yet, now that we’re finishing high school, it seems that I’m expected to pretend that everyone is my best friend. I was reading “Paper Towns” by John Green (for the millionth time) last night, but with new eyes as the characters are also at the conclusion of their high school years. At one point in the novel, Quentin goes to be a designated driver at an end-of-year party and makes the following observation: 
I felt so detached from all this shit, all this high-school-is-ending-so-we-have-to-reveal-that-deep-down-we-all-love-everybody bullshit.
That one sentence sums up all my feelings on the social activities that are occurring amongst my peers this week. Call me a cynic (or just someone who spends Saturday nights reading The Catcher In The Rye), but it just makes them all so phoney. After the 14th of November it is likely that I will never see the majority of my classmates ever again. And I am fine with that. The four or five I want to stay in contact with, I will, but everyone else is no great loss. High school is generally not the time you make all your life-long best friends. I’m not going to waste nights getting drunk at the houses of people I’ve never spoken to, pretending I love absolutely everybody in attendance, when in reality I’m thinking whether they know anything about me at all. 

I am a bit of a harsh friend. I don’t like having lots of acquaintances, and prefer to trust my instinct and get to know a hand-full of people super well. I’ve never been someone who can change myself to fit in with any given social situation. I have a clear idea of who I am, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise to spend a few Saturday nights at parties. I’m especially not going to pretend otherwise to “enjoy” end of school celebrations with people I am more than likely to never think about ever again. I like Doctor Who. I like Harry Potter. I like talking about fan-fiction and youtube stars and how beautiful words are. My mum always says that I’m rude and that the key to life is knowing a bit about everything so you can fit in in any social situation, but she wasn’t born with my social anxiety, the crippling fear that clenches in the pit of my stomach in group situations. I like feeling comfortable. I like sitting in my study with my Chinese food and my favourite movies. I dislike being put in situations with people who probably don’t like me and having to climb what feels like never-ending walls to have the most basic of conversations. It’s just not me. I like spending time with my friends and people who like my interests and me for who I am, not for who they think I should be. Does that make me unpopular? Very. But do I care? Not really, because I have been blessed with some of the best friends in the world, and what I lack in quantity I make up for in quality. 

High school was definitely not the best years of my life. I met some awesome people, and did some awesome things, and while I am sad to see the end of it, I’m more excited for the rest of my life and what lies ahead of me. As Brandon Williams writes in “Teenage Rewrite”, “I didn’t necessarily like high school, but I didn’t hate it either. It just was. It existed”. I did not exactly fit the mould that high school set out for me, but I have great faith that bigger things lie ahead, and so I will not be sad about missing a few celebrations with my peers, but instead celebrate the future in my own special way.

frangipani princess xoxo


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One thought on “Some Thoughts On The End Of High School

  1. I could not agree with you more! Even at my end of school break up BBQ the morning after the formal I felt so awkward, sitting around laughing at lame people's lame jokes, watching everyone that was hungover from the night before spew into bushes, all while thinking 'When is mum going to pick me up?'

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