High school: middle school kids dream of stepping onto the campus where teachers and upperclassmen sing beautiful harmonies in unity about friendship and block schedule. Moments where dances won’t be awkward and puberty jumps straight to “post-glow-up.” But to the disappointment of ninety-nine percent of the high school student body, it is definitely not like High School Musical (darn you, Disney, for making us set high standards). Upperclassmen set stereotypes for the entire incoming class, the struggle with knowing too many or not as many people, and long school nights filled with messy sobbing, energy drinks, and mental breakdowns over 2+2.
If you mix “exceeding high expectations” with a cup of “trying to keep stable relationships with the people around us,” a dash of “what will I do with my life?” and sprinkle in a couple of other things, you will most likely get a high school student. We feel so pressured to achieve perfection in so many areas of our lives, but we are afraid to ask for help because either (a) it will make us look dumb, or (b) we are afraid of degradation and rejection. Kathy Reamy, a high school counselor in Maryland said that she saw so many students feel “[pressured] to fit in” in just in a single year (Epidemic). She also recognized that students feel unsafe in their own classrooms because of the higher rate of school shooters. Anxiety and depression rates have sky-rocketed in the past couple of years. We as students are trying to balance so many things on our plates are we walk on a very thin and tight rope. Our minds play games with us as we walk through the halls, whispering bitter lies, and our bodies get exhausted from lack of sleep.
We are just trying to survive. Getting senioritis as a freshman is not a fun feeling. Kids should want to go to school, ready to face challenges and make lasting memories, not be worried about getting into AP or honors classes to make sure their resume is stacked. As a high school student, I feel the pressure to fit into molds not all of us are made for. We are all so different and we need to realize that we all learn differently. If we could change the high school experience for the better, we would certainly enjoy this journey more.