You know what I got to thinking about the other day? High school, and all the horrors that came along with it. I think it’s important to write a post regarding this topic because it wasn’t too long ago that I was trapped within those walls and I think it’s good to reflect back now whiles it’s fresh so we keep certain things in mind with today’s youth. If we can really remember and sympathize what it was like during that time, we can offer better support to those living through it currently. You may think I sound crazy, that it’s just high school, we’ve all been through it and it’s really not that bad. But I disagree. These are defining years in our lives, where we struggle to feel accepted and grow into the person we want to become. Depression and anxiety disorders are wild and free in the school environment and working in a children’s hospital has really opened my eyes to it. It’s horrible the number of overdose cases we get from kids who aren’t even 16 yet. Something is making these poor kids feel so horrible that they think the only way out is to take their own lives, so what is it??
High school sucks. You are forced to get up extremely early, and to go to bed extremely late on a daily basis. The things society expects of students in this age range are absolutely ridiculous and promote unhealthy lifestyles. My lunch was literally at 10:14 AM every day my senior year and then we weren’t allowed to eat in class. Does that not sound horrible?!?! Gee I wonder why the obesity rate is climbing with our youth. The second I was out of high school I was blown away. Life was nothing like they were trying to “prepare us for”. The system currently traps you and a thousand other spastic kids who have no real form of self-identity, into a prison for 7 hours a day and tell you to ‘focus’ and ‘do your best’ on work you couldn’t care less about. How are all of these people supposed to focus when they’ve been up since midnight doing homework? Sports and clubs and homework all AFTER your seven hour school day! All of those dumb extra-curricular activities because “it will look good for your future”. Really? This is real life? Because I can honestly say that high school was by far 1000X times more difficult for me to get through than college. While the assignments may be more challenging, the time we get to do them and the resources we’re offered makes a significant difference. Let alone the fact that we’re actually interested in the material because it’s a subject we chose for ourselves.
High school was just so hard to get used to. There are so many different cliques and crews that finding where you fit in can be a huge struggle. While this seems like such an obvious and simple concept, it is the majority reason that kids suffer from such bad depression. Imagine where you’re at now in your life. Imagine you were put back into the high school environment again tomorrow. How would you do? Running through the same exact schedule every day, unhappy and feeling excluded from the people around you. If you were in a job like that today, where the environment made you that uncomfortable, you’d quit. These students just can’t quit high school though, they’re treated like they’re failures for not adjusting properly. They’re taught that this is how it is so deal with it. Smile. Do sports. Get good grades. Make friends. Don’t fight. But guys come on!! That is not how life is! All I want to do every time I see a kid at that point in their lives is scream “I PROMISE IT GETS BETTER! THIS IS NOT IT! DAILY LIFE IS NOT THIS HARD!” Maybe we all just need to start reminding kids of that more often. That once you get out its completely different. There’s a feeling of unexplainable freedom.
You do not need to please everyone. You do not need to balance a million hobbies regularly. You do not need to participate in sports that you don’t want to. You do not need to wake up at 6 AM for classes if that’s not when you want to take classes. You do not need to sit in a room full of people every day that you feel rejected by. You do not need to starve throughout the day because your assigned lunch was really early. You do not need to hold everything in because Sarah is a real gossip and you can’t even truly trust your friends. You do not need to sit in discomfort because your teacher is not allowing bathroom breaks this period. You do not need to make up excuses for why you are late. You do not need to dress for other people. You do not need to have your parents called when today just isn’t your day. And you do not need to act pleased with having people around you CONSTANTLY.
I was so so so so so so so so depressed when I was a sophomore in high school. It was my mom holding me and promising me that everything was going to get better that got me through it. She promised that soon I’d have more control. More control over my life and who I wanted to be. I just had to hang in there and be patient. The thing I remember most was the almost paralyzing feeling of exhaustion that came over both my body and my mind every morning when I would have to get up for school. I don’t know a better way to express how my thinking was during this time other than the saying “I’m too old for this shit!” I couldn’t wait for my freedom.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have met people through the years that have liked high school, even miss it. I know, right? Ironically enough I can HONESTLY say (and I’m not sure if this is coincidental or…) that I have never actually connected or gotten close to those people. Maybe it’s just a conflict of mind sets. I guess I just feel as though I’m a completely different human being than I was in those years. I have grown and learned so much that I can’t even relate to the 16 year old version of myself. All it takes is living through one situation to completely change your perspective of something. The number of experiences since high school that have changed my outlook on things and have helped me mature as a person is innumerable.
I think the amount of work that needs to be done within our education system is a long and uphill battle. I don’t think within my life time I’ll ever see the drastic changes that I think are necessary to create a healthier learning environment for kids. I do however, think we can start by paying more attention at home. Being more in tuned with the realities and pressures that students are currently going through. Being supportive.