Kailey Tedesco
March 08, 2016 12:36 pm

If I were to rate my high school experience, I’d give it a solid 2.5 stars. I accomplished things that I was proud of, and then there were days that were less proud. I did a lot of growing there, but with that growing I made a lot of mistakes. There were of course relationships that I regard highly to this day, but then there are certainly those that I don’t wish to revisit.

All in all, high school was a decent experience, but it was just an experience like anything else.

I feel like the media has painted high school as a quintessential period in your life. Try to think of a movie that doesn’t revolve around or reminisce on high school in some way. It’s really hard.

I find it a wee bit silly to put that much weight on four meager years of one’s life. Films build up high school to the point where characters are sick over revisiting their alma maters because they feel as though they must prove something to the people they left behind. (Think Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion!) Or worse, some go to reunions wishing their former classmates unhappiness and failure.

I have to admit, even after high school I bought into the idea of proving something to my teenage “foes” and then rubbing it in their faces on social media. I made poor choices when it came to dating in my younger years, so I strived to show the world how happy I could be independently. I wanted people to think I had gotten exponentially prettier, smarter, and all around better in every single way. I wanted them to wish they were nicer to me, or that they spent more time getting to know me. Then, I realized how very, very little any of that matters.

It was exhausting to think this way. I wasn’t actually as happy as the images I was cultivating and I was spending way more time worried about what others think than figuring out what I wanted out of life. When I let go, and even physically “unfriended” people from high school who I was not friends with IRL, I became far more aware of who I was. I realized that I didn’t owe anything to anyone, and no one owed anything to me either. I could feel proud when I heard people had accomplished great things, instead of envious. I also realized that great things are not a commodity that can sell out — there’s enough success in this world for everyone. And, most importantly success is subjective, so it’s much easier to only worry about your own. So sure, we all attended the same school, but that does not obligate us to be artificially invested in each other’s lives forever.

The reason I won’t go to my high school reunion is not because I’m a negative person (though that’s definitely the reaction I’ve gotten from friends). It’s really because I don’t want to enter into a situation where I feel as though I need to be anything but myself. Myself says that high school ended years ago, and there’s no reason to pretend it was a more important experience for me than it actually was. I’m a different person now with vastly different goals, as is everyone else. If I would like to see old friends, I will meet them at Starbucks for a latte. Otherwise, I’m perfectly content wishing everyone happiness, and putting my focus and gratitude into the relationships I have right in front of me. So, go class of 2009! Just… go without me.

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