When All Hope Is Lost: The Reality of the High School Experience


The front of our often aggravating yet lovable school. Via Wikimedia Commons by Lady_Arwyn.

High school—the stage of life surrounded by mystery, excitement, and disappointment. Every demographic tends to have its own perspective on what they believe high school is genuinely like. This ranges from a glorious experience likened to High School Musical, to a time in one’s life where the desire to bash one’s head into a wall frequents one’s thoughts. 

Young children and middle schoolers tend to have a happier view of the future, especially when it comes to their upcoming high school lives. The majority of what they know about high school comes from TV shows and movies, which greatly exaggerate the reality of high school. Most view high school as a time to have fun and start new relationships, but a rare few of them do understand what high school actually is like. 

Anabelle (Ian), a seventh-grader from Stargate middle school, stated, “I’ve always known public school to be a place where people happily go through misery. They have to work their mind to exhaustion and fight to succeed in life, but they all do it together and have a good time. I’ve never gone to high school, but from what I’ve seen, it is both the best and worst time of your life.” 

This is an accurate summary of high school for many. It’s a place where you’re constantly working hard, but because you have your friends, it’s actually a pretty good time. The fun of football games and dances make up for the despair caused by an endless stream of homework. There is a delicate balance between homework and fun, and if one leans too far one way or another, they risk burning out or losing academic opportunities. Combining a good work ethic and social life creates a stable equilibrium for those wishing to get the most out of their high school years. 

The aura around high school is determined by many things, but what and who you associate with is one of the biggest determining factors. Lillian Ruelle, a junior, said that “the right people can create the right atmosphere.” For many, the success of their high school social lives depends on their friends. A high school life without friends is, for many, an unimaginable thought.

The dependable friends you make in clubs and classes are essential, whether you need help on an AP Calculus problem or you just need some everyday life advice. These friends contribute to the classic high school atmosphere, where everyone tries their best to have a good time while simultaneously juggling their grades and extracurriculars. This, in most highschoolers’ opinion, is what makes high school the way that it is.

While high school is not actually like it’s shown in The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, it does have its ups and downs. As Sydney Trebus, a senior, said, “It’s really stressful because of college and your future, but the community at the school and the fact that you know everyone makes it so much more fun.” Senior year is full of career choices and so-called “senioritis;” college is just months away, and many seniors are desperately ready to finally leave high school and start the next chapter of their life. It is a scary, exciting, and depressing time in almost everyone’s life. It’s important that for this final year, people surround themselves with a supportive community and try their hardest to finish the year strong. 

High school, comprehensively, is a time for fun, learning, and self-growth. Many people exit high school as a very different person from when they first entered it. The memories made here are definitely ones that will last a lifetime.