What High School Has Taught Me About Change

What High School Has Taught Me About Change

By: Naomi Metoyer
OwlFeed Editor-in-Chief

The words “high school”, for most people, harbor an unconscious but strong connotation, and for good reason. Though these four short years are only a fraction of most individuals’ lives, they are some of the most defining ones as well. This period in one’s life, literally and figuratively, represents the transition between child and young adult. It is not a stretch to say, then, that high school is a time full of changes of all kind.

This realization did not come to me until a couple months ago, at the beginning of my senior year. Sure, I recognized that life was indeed changing all around me, but I never really acknowledged just how much my life had been altered in such short periods of time.

The thing is, you go into high school thinking you are one type of person, and that you have a set path that you’re going to take on your path to wherever it is you want to go at that moment in time. Yet with every day, the world seems to grow more and more and yet get smaller as well somehow.

You are introduced to people, mindsets, and experiences you had not previously come into contact with. Everything is upped and your entire identity is challenged in the face of so much stimulus. And just when you think life is going one way, that it’s been the same for awhile, whether you’re comfortable with it or not, you’re tossed around a bit by even more things thrown into the mix. It’s exactly like life, but in a more condensed environment and with the added emotional naivete that comes with being a teenager.

I can’t count on my fingers and toes how many close friends that have been filtered in and out of my life in such a short time. Even living in the same city won’t keep friendships alive if you don’t try enough or don’t have the means. I’ve grown so seemingly close to people that I now have no contact with.

And even beyond the failing of friendships, I was fortunate enough to discover so many new and beautiful connections in so many different and unexpected places. Except it was not always this way. For awhile, just like so many teenagers, I was concerned with what other people thought and thus didn’t explore what friendships I could’ve had in people who weren’t in my immediate friend circles.

This year, I have several different groups of friends that all understand me in a different way and view me in a different light, and which all serve separate, but equally important purposes. I believe this is an essential thing I learned, something that changed from how I saw friendship when I first entered the world of high school.

I had a couple close friends that I felt obligated to share everything with, even if it didn’t make sense for our relationship to share those things. That’s what I believe made so many of my relationships fail as well: we didn’t understand what our connection meant for our individual personalities.

Some people I will be a lot more likely to speak to about my personal life, and others I will feel the most comfortable with just talking crazy or being at ease with. Before, I was of the mindset that these relationships, because they were different, had different value. This was not the case. Though they were different, that’s why I needed them. I needed the variety of life to shine through in the complex and varying connections I harbored with different individuals. I just wish I had realized before now the importance of individual relationships, and had stopped comparing apples to oranges in the form of connections with different souls.

Change came in the form of mindset and goals as well. At the beginning of my high school career, I was set on college. I didn’t particularly know why, but I was positive going to New York University was going to grant me all I’d need in my future.

As of now, I’m not positive what I plan to do in five months when I walk across the stage in a cap and gown and finally receive acknowledgement for the years I’ve spent working. The thing is, I wasn’t looking toward the future in specifics or realities at all in high school. Not until I became a senior in high school, in the last leg of this grueling race, did I actually begin to envision what my future could realistically look like.

I didn’t know all my options or the routes I could take. This enabled me to be vague in my aspirations, which manifested into the shock that has been my senior year.

All of my goals, aspirations, and priorities have flipped completely around. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing yet, either. But I think this has been a lesson I’ve needed to learn in my years here, the most important and long lasting one I will have ever been taught in high school.

The lesson that surpassed the countless ones drilled into my brain in various math or english classes, the lesson I lived through will remain with me even when all of that book knowledge goes. That lesson came with a few different points.

For one, I had to learn that the world was going to change around me, even if I didn’t move along with it. Nothing’s stopping for me. I learned that change happens where you didn’t ever expect it, but soon you’ll grow accustomed to that shift, only to be tossed up again.

I also learned that change is a good thing, and can come in so many forms. It can be subtle things that add up to larger things and it can be large things that come quick and fizz out even faster.

I learned that without change, you cannot become better. Even if you feel you are a good version of yourself, without the obstacles and the milestones that come along with change, you cannot really determine or affirm your character. What good has ever come from being the same person your whole life? That is the very opposite of what it means to develop as a human.