Four Years, Countless Miles  

Posted by inkstainedhands in , ,

When I look back on the past four years and at the changes that I have undergone, I realize more than ever the importance of choosing the right high school. It is different for each individual, and one student can flourish and succeed in a certain high school, while another student will suffocate, feel miserable, and look back on those four years with resentment. Looking at my graduating class, I see girls who fall under both categories and anywhere in between. There are girls who have reached heights that they cannot imagine achieving in any other school, and they will look back at their high school years with fondness, tinged with a bittersweet longing, wishing they could come back and gain even more but knowing that they must move on. There are girls who did all they had to do in high school, passed their tests and completed their assignments, and look at high school as just another one of the things that they had to go through as part of life. And then there are girls who went through high school feeling frustrated and resentful because they thought they did not have the freedom to do what they wanted and were being restricted and choked by the school's standards. To them, graduation meant finally being able to do as they pleased without the fear of being caught or suffering consequences. (Of course, many of these girls did as they pleased even in high school, but it is so much more pleasant doing what you want without having this worrying thought somewhere in the back of your mind that you might get caught.) These girls appreciated school mostly because of the opportunities it gave them of making new friendships. In other words, they liked the social aspect, but the good feelings stopped there.

To determine which category I fall under would be difficult, since I have experienced all three. I have raged, rebelled, toiled, stressed, appreciated, and loved. I experienced frustration, disappointment, despair, happiness, attachment, and delight. But I could not experience the last three until I had re-evaluated my priorities, examined my life with honesty, and decided upon which path I wanted to embark and what was the best way of getting to the destination I wanted to reach. Before I did that, I could not appreciate; I could only see limitations wherever I turned. And I am sure that there are girls who still see it that way and never learned to let go of their prejudice.

Now, when I look back on the past four years, and the last two in particular, I am struck by how much I have learned and gained, and by my growth as a person. I am definitely not the same person I was when I walked into high school, prepared for battle. Once I realized that high school was not hostile territory, despite all its rules and expectations, I was able to begin to truly learn. I was able to connect with sincere, truth-seeking students and embark on a journey together. I was able to also connect with so many teachers, whose patience and generosity made me feel comfortable approaching them with my questions, my doubts, and my struggles. Honestly, I think that my teachers were the most important part of my high school experience, helping me grow and understand myself better without being judgmental or severe. They have encouraged me to seek the truth, be true to myself, and make the most out of everything. They have expressed faith in me, giving me support and investing time and effort in helping me when I needed it. They were always available, during lunch breaks, free periods, on the phone....

It was such a regular part of my life and it was always so easy that I took it for granted. The last couple of months, it struck me that I only had a few more weeks, and then I would be gone. It would no longer be as easy as having long discussions during lunch and school hours. I'm going to miss that, probably more than anything else. I'm also going to miss all those classes that opened my eyes and my mind, which mattered so much to me. I'm going to miss walking into my favorite classes with that eagerness and desire to learn. Of course, there will be no end of interesting classes in Stern (and I am already looking forward to them with much excitement), but it's different. It's a change of pace and a completely different atmosphere. It is one I hope to gain much from, but it is not one I am used to.

And now, I have just a couple of months dividing the high school experience that I miss so much and the beginning of a new experience at Stern. Why do I have the impression that this will feel like the longest summer I have experienced thus far?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at Wednesday, July 07, 2010 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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