Going Back To My High School

Going Back To My High School

It felt very weird.

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This Spring Break I decided to be very low key and to chill back home (I already had multiple midterms to study for and assignments to do anyway). So, during March, my high school usually has this one big event called the International Fair, where a bunch of stands of all the countries represented by the student body showcase traditional food and items essential to their culture. It's basically a fun day for everyone to enjoy and I've loved it each time I went during my high school years.

Hyesu Chung

What I did not expect was for nostalgia to hit me in the face, especially when seeing my past teachers again. It was a very weird interaction and I, for some reason, didn't know how I was in their classes. It just felt like seeing someone that you met once a very long time ago and that you've never truly kept in contact with. I didn't imagine anything to be like this, but I guess that's life.

That's one weird thing to check off of this list. Another thing was that I was so bored during the entire thing, I didn't understand it. I remembered the event being so fun, such a great day to spend with my friends and now it just felt like it went to shit. I get that my friends weren't around so it wasn't as fun, but I still had an adequate amount of enjoyment even if I was alone/with my parents. I didn't really know what happened. Maybe life happened.

I walked around the common areas and went into bathrooms and classrooms where I felt so comfortable doing so and felt very out of place. It kind of felt like when Alice (from Alice in Wonderland) grew out of the house that she was in.

Literally how I felt. I felt so confused and weird and strange. I guess it was very weird to realize that my reality was once in these hallways and bathrooms when now it's USC: going to class at Fertitta and getting coffee at Cafe 84. The fact that I grew out of this one specific reality and into another really hit me hard when I went back.

I guess I'm not saying that you shouldn't go back to visit your high school, especially if you really, truly enjoyed your time there. I did too, but this type of emotional reaction really wasn't what I was expecting. It's kind of like romanticizing something in your memory and to now realize that, that ideal memory isn't true anymore really was something weird. It's part sad, part nostalgic and definitely part weird.

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7 Things You’ll Understand If You Partied In H.S. In A Small Town

Unfortunately, I never partied in a cornfield, but one was never too far away.
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I grew up in a town where there were more tractors than cars and more barns than houses. I might be slightly exaggerating, but you get my point--I lived in a tiny rural town in the middle of nowhere. After graduation, I moved to the Twin Cities for college, where one of my lectures was twice as large as my graduating class. It was a big transition.

And of course, like every stereotypical rebellious college student, I quickly adapted to the lifestyle of partying at a huge university. It was thrilling to go to a party full of classmates who were strangers when before, I knew everyone in my school. I was able to meet new people and embarrass myself (which happened all-too-frequently) without fear of seeing those people the following Monday in the hallway. To say the least, I loved partying in the city.

Yet, over the years as I started to revisit my hometown less frequently and would go months without seeing some of my best friends, I came to appreciate and miss the mischief I and my hometown friends had once regularly enjoyed. I now cherish the times we are able to gather in my friend’s basement at the top of the ridge and retell old and amusing stories, all while creating new and exciting memories. These are the ­­­seven things you have probably done (or at least understand) if you partied in high school in a small town.

1. Bonfires (Because it is always lit)

Or, more specifically, (semi-controlled) fires in an old field behind someone’s barn with everyone’s tailgates facing the open flames. While in the city there are restrictions on fire pits and such, in the country you host a gathering for the sole purpose of burning the pile of tree branches you gathered after five days of clearing a new field.

2. Adventures in the Woods

And when teenagers get tipsy at a house in the country, the logical thing to do is to go exploring in the woods. It can go two ways--either everyone is too paranoid because they "heard something," resulting in a huddled group of kids shuffling through the trails. Or, you form an all-out exploration party with mud smeared under your eyes and bandanas tied around your head. There is no in-between.

3. Lost in the Woods

And, subsequently, it does not take long for that one person to wander off and get lost in the woods. Oftentimes, though, they are just passed out in the middle of the field or are still struggling to climb back up the “hill” that they will insist is a ninety-degree vertical, which in actuality is at most ten degrees.

4. No Noise Complaints

When the closest neighbors are half a mile away or your neighbor is also at your party, you can be as loud and rambunctious as you please without the fear of your neighbors calling the cops. Besides, chances are you're partying with the local police officer’s daughter anyway.

5. Lawnmower Races

So, at my house we have a huge yard so naturally, we have three riding lawnmowers. While they may only travel a solid four miles per hour, with a little imagination and intoxication, they were quickly transformed into a thrilling race. (Do not be alarmed though, those driving were not drinking; only the passengers were able to enjoy a refreshing beverage.)

6. Couch Surfing

The best part of partying within a small town with your best friends is that it is always acceptable to crash on their couch and never worry about how to get home. But, the key is to call dibs on the good couch before anyone else to ensure that you get at least some sleep.

7. The Church Rush

And, since you had to travel 12 miles to the nearest party because you live in the valley and your friends live on the ridge, you obviously had to drive. This means that the next morning, you are awakened at 6:00 a.m. to drop off your friend and rush home just in time to make it to church. And to top it all, you see your other mutually hungover friend and give them a high five after the sermon when only seven hours earlier you were screaming the lyrics to a Luke Bryan song while dancing on a workbench.

Cover Image Credit: Karlee Onstad

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To The Marching Band That Changed My Life

Because hearing "one more time" for the last time can be oh so bittersweet.

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To the Zebra Marching Band,

Thank You.

Words cannot describe how much you have done for me throughout these past four years. Little did I know that upon walking through the band room's intimidating doors my freshman year, I had unknowingly found my second home. On the outside it may have appeared to simply be kids with instruments on a field, however, it was so much more.

Thank you for teaching me how to have an immense amount of school spirit despite not knowing a single thing about football. From playing our school's fight song by heart, to feeling an electric energy each time the stadium lights lit up on Friday nights, you allowed me to experience a sense of joy unlike no other.

You taught me that there definitely is no "i" in "team," even if it may have taken me a while to understand that. I was able to learn that I didn't always need to be self-sufficient, that in order for me to succeed, I needed to listen and work together with those around me. I soon realized that we each played an important role on that field and even if just one of us was out of place, we would all be affected. Once we put on those uniforms, we weren't simply ourselves anymore, rather we came together regardless of backgrounds or differences, and became one. Under that shako, no one knew who we were, because that 10 minute show wasn't about any one individual, it was about the band.

I thank you for showing me that a family doesn't necessarily mean you're related by blood, that a family can be as small as the people within your section, or as big as the entire band. Without marching band, I would have never met some of my best friends. You brought some of the most amazing people into my life that I've had the opportunity to form long-lasting bonds with. Although I may have not known it at the time, but after years of complaining about the weather either being too hot or too cold at rehearsal, making up dances to the drum-line's cadences, helping each other memorize music and sets, or saying the phrase, "It's not a show if you don't have to go" to each other, these once-strangers around me had become a part of my roots. Thank you for placing people in my life that would help push me when I didn't want to do another run-through or scream the loudest with me when it came to school chants.

You taught me the virtue of patience, because after hearing the director say "one last time" for the 5th time in a row, I DEFINITELY needed it.

Turns out those hour-long bus rides actually feel like ten minutes when you're sitting by the the right people (aka: the back of the bus.) You gave me a chance to experience those irreplaceable laughs, inside jokes, and memories made at marching contests that I would look back on in a few years and say "Man, I miss this." I never did think I would ever get so excited over spending my Saturdays watching other bands perform while competing for a trophy of our own.

Thank you for both the significant and insignificant details. For the everyday normality of walking into the band room and being greeted by a hundred kids in a frenzy, to the medley of saxophones and tubas and other practicing instruments that would eventually become the background noise to my life. Or from having the opportunity to march in front of 20,000 people at the Magic Kingdom Parade at Disney World, to leaving a legacy by being the first band in my school's history to not only pass on to finals, but place eighth at our state marching contest.

In the end, you transformed me into a girl who adores the clarinet and is passionate about both music and marching. So much so that next year I'll be at Boone Pickens Stadium, making my dreams a reality by marching with a college band.

Just know I could have never done it without you, because when it's all said and done, I wouldn't trade getting to be a part of the Zebra Marching Band for the world.

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