Avoiding My High School Reunion At All Costs

High School Reunion? Yeah, No Thanks I'll Pass

I am definitely saving myself from awkward ice breakers and going down memory lane.

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Throughout my high school career, I was enrolled in two different schools. From freshman to sophomore year I lived in New Jersey attending a school that goes by the name of Bridgewater-Raritan High School. It was BIG. I loved it there. I met one of my best friends for life there, so I am grateful for that experience. And then, from my junior to senior year, I was living back in the "570",(Wilkes-Barre, PA), attending Holy Redeemer High School.

First of all, going from a "no dress code zone" to a full-on plaid skirt, high socks, and same collared shirt imprinted with the school's name on it, already gave the rest of my high school experience negative points. Relax though, I got used to it.

The immaturity level throughout high school was unbelievable. As a freshman, I figured that once we got to senior year, everything would be super relaxed and you would be treated as an adult. Well, let me tell you how wrong I was. It was so disgusting the way people acted. The girls would put on their fake personalities and always talk in super high annoying voices around boys. The boys would always scream, yell, and try to fight each other with slices of pizza at lunch. I felt like middle school was way more relaxed than this.

The level of obnoxiousness was gross. Everyone thought they were hot sh*t. No one liked being told they were wrong. And what sickens me the most is there are always groups or cliques. No one really likes new faces unless you play a sport or someone "popular" becomes friends with you. Then you are in good shape. Otherwise, you are screwed.

The things that went on at my school were insane. The freshmen were vaping and smoking in the bathroom. Most of the girls had drama ALL THE TIME. If you are apart of a "group", and you don't get invited somewhere with that "group", then all hell broke loose. And what annoyed me the most was that everyone talked about everyone. You could be best friends with someone and there they were talking about you and spilling your secrets all because you didn't give them your homework. Like really? C'mon now.

This one group of boys had the nerve to spread nudes of this poor girl around. Luckily, it only got to a few people before it was shut down. But do you see? You are never safe. People will rat you out so fast, it's like you were never friends. No one was ever really friends. Or at least, that's how I saw it. All everyone tried to do was impress. Whether it was with money, parties, looks, information, or big news, everyone tried to get attention.

But do you know what no one cares about? Serious stuff. For example, we had a really cool opioid assembly. It was nuts. There were strobe lights and music blasting; it was probably the coolest assembly I have ever been to. Anyway, no one took that seriously.

When prom time came around, everyone was desperate. I mean, the opioid assembly was definitely more exciting and we didn't even get to dance. Sneaking in illegals was like a strategic apple store game if you weren't already under the influence walking in. People were smart though. Did you know that there are such things called tampon flasks? Yeah, I know..gross. But I'm telling you, these people were desperate.

We had an assembly before prom night about drinking and driving. There were people out that night doing exactly what we pledged not to do. People just don't care.

You would not believe the number of people in my school suffering from something, whether it was a mental illness, sickness, or family struggle. No one knew, because no one cared to ask. No one cared enough to pay attention to it.

High school was full of people who were too afraid to stand up for themselves and people who had a lot to say but didn't. It was all about reputation and what people thought about you. You always had to do what everyone else thought was right.

Now, I'm not saying I was the perfect person, but boy did I avoid that as much as possible. I probably had one or two really good friends in high school. To be honest, that is all you need, because the more friends you have, the more likely you are to piss someone off.

However, not everyone was terrible. There were some really cool people among that group. You just had to look really hard for them.

Maybe your high school experience was different, but there is definitely a thousand things I would rather do than to go back to my high school after making it out.

I don't know, hopefully, college is different.

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade.

I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass, and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school, and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone, it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach:

Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off," and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake, I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself, not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, but you also turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It's about the players.

You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won't have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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To All the Seniors Making Their College Decision

Decision day is just around the corner, but this doesn't have to be a stressful time.

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This time last year I was agonizing over what I was sure would be the hardest decision of my life: choosing which college to enroll in.

I had narrowed down my options to two colleges that I was absolutely in love with. I could picture myself on both campuses living out my ideal college experience. They were both great schools, and the idea of having to choose one and leave the other behind was tearing me up inside. I felt like I was alone in this feeling, but the truth is, there are thousands of high school seniors who feel the exact same way this time of year.

Society likes to romanticize the whole college commitment process, but it can be the most stressful time of your teenage life.

I remember seeing my friends post perfectly-posed pictures, beaming with happiness while decked out in their college apparel, their picturesque future campus serving as the backdrop to their college announcement. While I was happy for my friends, I was increasingly anxious as I felt the clock tick down to decision day. I had still yet to wrap my head around the fact that I was graduating high school, and leaving everything I had ever known behind. The idea of finding a new home that I believed would define the rest of my personal and professional life was stressful, to say the least. After all, I was 17 and had never had to make a decision that I felt would alter the course of my life.

Where you go to college does not define you.

I was lucky enough to get into schools that have great reputations, but the reality is that no matter where you go to college, you are going to be able to make the most out of your degree and be successful. My advice is to avoid unnecessary opinions about the colleges you are considering. This means staying off of all the forums and discussion boards where people trash colleges for no reason. These discussion boards are toxic, and I know that they negatively impacted my decision process. You need to make the decision for yourself because after all, you are the one who will be attending that college.

While you shouldn't hesitate to ask for advice from the people you love and trust, do not let their opinions be the deciding factor for you.

I was fortunate enough to know a few people who had chosen between the same two colleges that I had narrowed my decision down to; finding out why they chose either college was helpful to gather additional information, but I never let it heavily influence my feelings towards either school. This is the first step into adulthood for you, and it is important that you arrive at your decision in an intellectually independent manner so that you end up where you are supposed to be. That being said, there are multiple factors that helped me arrive at what I knew in my heart was the right decision.

Sadly, financial aid offers need to play an important role in your college decision.

You must weigh the cost of your attendance versus its benefits. With tuition on the rise, most prospective college students need some form of financial assistance in order to pay for their education. Tuition is sky-high at most private colleges, and no matter how much it hurts to think about it, the cost of your attendance must play a role in your decision. It might sound great to attend a prestigious institution with an impressive national reputation, but it might be better for you in the long run to attend a slightly lesser known institution that is more affordable. Calculating your expected student loan debt can be difficult mentally and emotionally, but you need to know what you are getting yourself into. Once you graduate, you will need to start paying off your loans so it is essential that you plan for that.

There are ways you can help ease the financial burden of college, but don't count on it.

Apply for as many scholarships as you can, and hope that it works out in your favor. If you have not already, appeal your financial aid offer. There is always a chance that your dream school could give you more money. If you are willing to take on more debt because you have fallen absolutely in love with a college, then that is a sacrifice that you must think long and hard about. I advise talking to your parents about the possible implications of incurring student loan debt are. In the end, you have to choose the college that is the right fit for you, and sometimes that means taking on more debt.

Focus on the feeling you had when you stepped onto the campus for the first time.

Think back to your first visit. What was your first impression of the college? I know the first time I visited my future college, I fell absolutely in love. I remember feeling heartbroken at the thought that I could possibly be rejected from there during the application process. I was determined to be admitted because I loved it so much. I told everyone who would listen about how great my visit was and how excited I was to apply and possibly visit again. If you don't really remember how you felt during that first visit, or you are reconsidering a school you previously looked over, I would recommend visiting again. Most importantly, attend accepted students day! I attended accepted students day at both schools I was seriously considering, and it was after visiting the 2nd one that I realized the first one was the right choice. I took one final visit before I officially committed to my college, that way I could be confident that I had made the right decision.

Focus on the academic program that you are interested in.

I know that when I was making my final college decision, I focused too heavily on the social scene and extracurriculars at my school. Don't forget that when you are deciding to go to college, you are deciding what training you want to receive for your future career. Academics are central to your college experience, so look for a program that you feel can set you up for success. If you're going in undecided, still take a look at the process involved in deciding your major, and check to see that there are a few that pique your interest.

Focus on the atmosphere of the campus.

Take time to imagine yourself on campus and explore how you would fit into the campus community. Yes, it may be a great school, but if you cannot see yourself thriving as a student there, it is not the place for you. College is a big transition, and it will be even harder if you are trying to change yourself in order to be accepted. FInd a place that welcomes you, a place where you can be planted and bloom. If it comes down to it, make a pros and cons list and weigh which factors are deal-breakers for you versus compromises that you can make. No school is perfect, but they may be perfect for you.

In the end, you know in your heart which school is right for you, and no matter what, you will end up in the place that you belong.

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