I Found Myself No Longer Wanting to be There

For Spring Break of my senior year of high school, I took a trip to Florida with my parents. It was a fine trip, and I greatly enjoyed it. But once I returned, I found that I no longer wanted to be in school.

This was a new mindset for me. While I will never declare high school to be “the best years of my life,” I wasn’t completely miserable either. I was neither the most popular kid in school nor a friendless outcast. I probably should have had more, or at least closer friends, but at the time, I wasn’t great at knowing who my people were.

Most of my social problems were self-inflicted as I often tried to be “weird.” If I had to place myself into one of The Breakfast Club’s defined social roles, it would be Ally Sheedy’s “basket case,” but even that doesn’t truly fit. (Honestly, my behavior in high school probably merits a post of its own.)

Like Ally, I sometimes acted a little strange at times. (Image source)

Like Ally, I sometimes acted a little strange at times. (Image source)

I had actually enjoyed much of my senior year up until that point. But upon returning from Florida, something changed. Every morning, I woke up feeling sad, and I dreaded going to school. I barely talked to anyone, and I think I only did the bare minimum to get by academically.

There was no definitive cause for the change. I wasn’t doing poorly in my classes, I wasn’t being bullied, and I wasn’t having girl problems. (Aside from my longstanding issue of having no clue how to speak to them.) The problem may have been that Spring Break essentially marks the “home stretch” of the school year, and it dawned on me that I was in my final semester of grade school. Realizing that I was so close just made me desperate to reach the end.

I think I was sick of doing the same exact thing for four straight years. I was sick of seeing all of the same people every day. I think I just wanted to move on to something new.

I don’t often see people from high school these days, and I’m mostly happy about that. It disturbs me to see people my own age looking like middle-aged men and women. I’ll sometimes see a classmate and think, “Wow, he looks old…Do I look that old?”

Seeing my old classmates also brings feelings of regret. I see some of these people and I think, “If I had acted differently, maybe I could have been friends with them.” Maybe I’d have better memories from those years, and I would actually look forward to going home and catching up with old friends.

At the end, I finally felt like I couldn't lose. (Image source)

At the end, I finally felt like I couldn’t lose. (Image source)

Perhaps the most frustrating thing is that at the very end, I may have started to realize my potential. About a week before graduation, my mood suddenly turned again. I was no longer filled with sadness about high school. Suddenly, I was personable and sociable and actually talked to people in a normal, friendly manner.

Maybe being at the very end removed all the pressure from my shoulders. I think I finally just stopped caring how I’d be viewed or how people would see me because no matter what happened, it would only last for another week. Maybe I just finally felt free to be myself.

I suppose I wasn’t the first school student who had trouble finding their place, and I’m pretty certain I wasn’t the last either. The good news is that I was able to move past it and actually enjoy my time in college. (Although I have my share of regrets from those years as well.)

How do you feel about your high school days? Do you look back at them fondly? Are you filled with regrets? Do you think about your old classmates and become filled with thoughts of murderous rage?

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About The Cutter

I am the Cutter. I write some stuff. You might like it, you might not. Please decide for yourself.
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18 Responses to I Found Myself No Longer Wanting to be There

  1. Randy says:

    I’m only filled with regrets from my kickball years. So much shame.

  2. I tried to get out of high school as fast as I could. I graduated in three years, the third year of which I spent half at the high school (mornings) and half at the college (many afternoons). At the time, it seemed imperative I GET OUT NOW, but I do now wish I’d made even one friend who stuck.

    I wonder what school will be like for my boys. Funnily for how I felt then, I feel a surge of affection whenever I pass by the high school arm of my son’s elementary school. I feel such a sense of hope about everything that might be awaiting them! I hope also that my sons will enjoy their high school years as so many of my now-friends did.

  3. djmatticus says:

    I visited my brother in college the summer between my junior and senior year… So, beside the overwhelming urge to be out from my parents watchful eyes, I knew what was waiting for me. I wanted to be done my whole senior year and it was with relief I finally walked away.
    Ironically (?) In terms of happiness my senior year was the best of the high school years. I think because I didn’t want to be there anymore it allowed me not to care, and I was able to step away from the person I’d been the 3 years prior.

  4. I haven’t (knowingly) run into anyone from my high school in at least 15 years… and I’d like to keep it that way. My HS years were very unique…. even for an outcast.

  5. eek31 says:

    Aw it’s cute to try and picture high school lacy! I will say this about high school- sophomore year I consider my philipino year where I hung out with mostly the philipino girls. It is how I came to love ddr (dance dance revolution).

  6. I encountered someone a few months ago whom I didn’t’ recognize. She introduced me to her husband by my maiden name, then she introduced herself to me. She had made my life miserable through junior high and high school. I could greet her cheerfully without feeling angry. I think I may have grown up.

  7. List of X says:

    I have pretty neutral memories of my high school years, and I haven’t really kept up with them afterwards – but that’s partly because I’m not even on the same continent with almost all of them anymore, and partly because I wasn’t good at making friends (and still not). So while I somewhat regret that I could have been more socially open while in school, I would have probably still ended up out of contact with them by now.

  8. I never felt like I belonged to any people in high school. I had a few close friends but I was glad when it was over.

  9. I struggled in high school. Hated it, actually. I signed up to join the Air Force the summer BEFORE my senior year because I just wanted to leave. I left, 3 weeks after graduating high school and have only been back to my home down half a dozen times in the last 24 1/2 years.

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