In middle school, right before we come into high school, we do a tour of the school to see how it will be. We heard talks from the counselors and the many assistant principals about how it was the most amazing four years of your life. The one thing that I remembered was when they said, "You will find a group that you belong to". That was not the case for me.

Growing up, I always had the bubbly personality. Everyone always told me I was hard not to like, I had an infectious laugh, and I always brought a smile to other people’s faces just by smiling myself. I grew up with a lot of friends in different age groups and I was always doing something with friends every weekend. That all seemed to change when I walked into ninth grade and realized my school was made up of various “cliques”.

Early into high school, I joined color-guard so I could be involved in something and meet new people. The first year was incredible, and I made some good friends, but the second year, everything changed. Rumors spread, people believed the lies, and I was left with no true friends. I always thought I was alone in every battle that was thrown at me like it was meant for me to conquer them alone.

During these four years, having friends is not necessary but they're truly amazing when you're going through hard times at school. When you feel like you can't go on anymore without a mental breakdown, they're there to lift you up and sometimes even suffer with you. But when you have no one, the world feels like it's crashing down on you with every step you take through those hallways. I mean, yeah, you have SOME friends, but they’re not close enough to the point where you can lean on them when you need saving.

No matter how many clubs I joined, I still couldn't find my "group." Newspaper was the only class I truly enjoyed besides literature. On the paper, we have something called "work wives" where someone you're close with keeps you on track during all times. But I bet you can guess, I didn't have one at all. I always felt like the odd one out in newspaper. I always tried to make other people happy and brighten their days whenever I sensed tension, but when I was upset, no one seemed to notice. I was always there for other people when they needed me, but no one was there for me when I needed it most. I guess I needed someone like me at some moments.

My mom always gives me pep-talks and for her I’m truly appreciative, because if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be nearly this successful in my high school career. She always tells me, “Their issues are not yours.” This helped me when I realized I mattered before anyone else in my life. My mental, physical, and emotional health was way important than any classmate’s drama. But my favorite quote she always tells me is, “If they can’t appreciate your presence, make them regret your absence.”

As Maddy Malhotra said, “It doesn’t matter if thousands of people believe in you, unless you believe in you.”

I'm only halfway through high school and I'm glad I've finally realized you don't need anyone but yourself. No one determines your future or your happiness but you. Your friends can't do any more for you than you can do for yourself at this age or for that matter, any age.