Growing up, people always said that high school is the best four years of your life. There is something about this statement that bothers me. Maybe it’s the fact that people who say this loved high school or because people who disagreed never spoke up.
I am one of those people who disagreed with this statement pretty early on in my high school years. But, I am also someone who has been afraid to create conflict or get into a dispute with people. This has been both a blessing and a curse: I am always looking for ways to avoid conflict, either by finding a resolution or not getting involved if possible, and for many years I was afraid to speak out about my opinion.
By my senior year I learned a valuable skill: how to get into a discussion with someone and manage to argue both sides at one time. While this skill has gotten me into some trouble when I write papers, it has been very useful in life. The refinement of this skill, the method of saying something positive then getting to the negative came from my writing classes, where we spend hours critiquing people’s writing in this manner. Whenever I am asked a question about something I don’t like, I find a positive. I did this all throughout high school. My go-to line when asked about school was “I love my teachers but I have a hard time socially”. This line has managed to follow me to college, also the four best years of your life.
I can see where whoever said this was coming from. I am having an easier time finding ways to make the social scene work for me in college. I got involved in clubs, albeit some that are out of the ordinary, and have found what I would like to think is a solid base of friends. If there is anything my high school social experience has taught me, it was that picking trustworthy friends is not easy and people are usually not who you think they are.
Three years later, I keep in touch with two people from high school, maybe three. Looking back, I might have had more close friends, but I didn’t love being social. I am ecstatic that changed my first year of college. I think it has made college more enjoyable and has given me many more memories to look back on. The memories I have made have been amazing but I there is no way I am going to say that I am having an easier time socially. When people ask me about school I still use the line I used in high school, “I love the academics but socially it’s hard”.
Thinking about it now, I was much more reluctant to say this in high school. Now that I have experienced college and have had time to reflect on my experience in high school, I think that if someone says they don’t struggle socially, they are not being honest with themselves. There are people out there who are naturally good in crowds of people, but at this adolescent age, no social situation is easy. I know this might sound negative, and I already said how I like to find the positive in every situation, but I think it is important to keep this fact in mind. Being a teenager and a college student is hard. This is an honest and hard fact that people shouldn’t be embarrassed by. It’s a stage in everyone’s lives and once they get through it, the struggles you encounter change and tend to get easier. The one thing that makes this time in our lives easier is how we deal with situations, the easiest way to do this is to go with the flow, roll with the punches, or whatever line you like to use. Life at this point is less than predictable, but there is nothing we can do about it but to let life take us in the direction it’s supposed to.