A Letter to High School


(Image via The Columbian)

Danielle Murray, Media Manager

Dear High School,

I knew this would sneak up on me. Time always does. I’ve always found myself staring at the older, bigger, smarter kids and thinking that, in the distant future, I will eventually be them. Four years seems like an eternity when you’re just beginning. Whether I was a wide-eyed third-grader, outspoken fifth, or a nervous ninth-grader, time always caught up to me. I’ve been swept away into tidal waves I once feared, drowned by the inevitable, and gently embraced by the grace of a new sun. You’ve given me all three. Just as they said you would.

I hate you for what you did to me in the beginning. Such a small, naive, wide-eyed fool. Such an easy target. I never learned how to properly swim, and you knew that. Too many new faces, too many new voices, too many new sounds, too many new situations, and crowds. Academics have never been the problem. Chugging out an entire script in the blocks leading up to fourth has always been something I’ve been capable of doing. Redeeming myself from failures, however humiliating, is something I’ve grown accustomed to. Protecting myself from cunning rumors and insecure actors was something completely foreign to me. The stares of hundreds of eyes, a string of malicious lies, friends who were only strangers in disguise.

Of course, I fell victim. I had no chance. No one tells you that the villains in this life aren’t black and white. The antagonists can be friends. The grown-ups are just as clueless. No one will cradle you like you want them to. I was raised up in the cotton of sympathy and love, something that many have lost to the cruel twisting of the tide. A harsh reality I thought I knew. I did know. Mortals are neither saints nor devils. I failed to recognize that some dance with demons more often than angels. I hate you for forcing me to learn that lesson so harshly. I hate you for stripping me down to my bones. I hate you for making me weak and senseless. I hated you for the first two years.

Maybe you took mercy. Or maybe I grew thicker skin. These last two years have held a lot of moments of bliss. I found bravery in the face of fear. I learned the art of letting go. I embraced the change and saw things in the daylight. I went to places I never thought I’d go. I’ve broken rules and mended wounds. I bloomed outside of your confines and started learning how I can fly. Even when disaster struck, a tsunami devastated our world, I learned how to swim. I became used to adapting to the winds that blow in the wrong direction. Fighting against the inevitable is useless, but so is being swept away by it. I learned how to easily take the bad, the unexpected, and make it bearable, make it valuable.

One day I’ll forget about the nights where I ran through the streets in the dark, chasing friends down to a park. I’ll forget the song I had on repeat on the plane ride to a place I had only seen in pictures and on TV. I’ll forget the joy of the ghost hunt and my fright over his stupid stunt. I’ll forget the insults and the compliments. I’ll forget the times where I was too scared and all the friendships left unrepaired. I’ll forget the stage fright and my brightest lights. I’ll forget the details, the faces, the class I failed, our stupid phrases.

I’ll forget everything one day. But that’s okay. The end of a chapter just means new beginnings. I’ll live through college. Just as I did you. Good things are coming. Adulthood is scary, but I think I’m ready. Thanks for the hell you gave me. Can’t wait to never see those prisons like windows ever again. Seriously. Think about a makeover maybe. Also those yellow floors?? Ugh. A few cosmetic touch-ups will do you some serious good.

Maybe go easier on the Freshmen this time around… or not.