I will never forget my last day of High School.
I am not talking about the official last day celebration where all the Year twelves “ran amok” in socially acceptable, restrained style. I am talking about that very last moment.
In fact it was probably the very first moment following the last day that sticks in my memory. Waking up with the realization that I will never have to set foot in that school yard again was gloriously intoxicating.
The road opened up before me and it was wide and flat and beautiful.
No more teachers, no more books, no more teachers dirty looks.
Negotiating the complex array of social mores and rituals in High School was somehow always beyond my grasp. Other people always knew more than me about a whole range of things and I just had to tootle along trying to keep up.
Life at High School seemed like some kind of complicated obstacle course.
I understand now that this is how it is for most High School students. Innate to the whole process of being a teenager is the idea that you are learning and changing and your brain is sometimes with you and sometimes it is lagging a little behind. The melting pot of personalities, people and structures just serves to keep the whole process a rich learning experience. Learn you must, change you will, but you still get to have a say what happens to you as you go.
So what did I learn in High School? I learnt a little bit about maths, most of it long forgotten. I learn the how to read and analyse a good book, sometimes to the point of no return. I even had one memorable teacher who shared with me his love of literature. This lesson I have never forgotten.
I also learned a lot about boys who think they own girls and girls who want to fight over boys, a moderate amount about organisation and a little bit about tuna casserole.
But beyond the structured classroom I also learnt a lot of other important lessons. Here they are;
I learned that some adults/ teachers are amazing and that an interaction with them will change your life for ever.
I learned that people with ideas and words to express them are devastatingly delicious.
I learned that friendships are fun, fantastic, complicated, exhausting and sometimes a waste of time.
I learned that other people can break your heart and steal your smile and that you can do the same to them.
I learned that walking away from the crowd can feel like chipping off half a tooth, but that your whole life will be richer for doing it.
I learned that owning your own life is a sophisticated and complicated process but that trying to make other people happy will leave you miserable and confused.
I learned that fitting in is temporary, boring and beige.
I learned that some wounds cut deep and never leave you so be gentle with your words.
I learned that some people will sign their name across your heart in the most unexpected ways and that you will never, ever forget them. Even if you never see them again they will be part of your story, your tale, your truth.
I learned that siblings and the most powerful back up crew you will ever know, your gang when all other gangs have voted you out. The keepers of silly secrets and embarrassing truths, the warm foundation to your every stumble.
I learned that mistakes are part of the process so keep trying, don’t give up, forgive quickly, ask for help, go again.
These are the lessons that have stuck with me, changing me as I get older and encounter new experiences. Some of them are lessons that continue on. Maybe I am a slow learner?
So even though High School sometimes seemed like an embarrassing, awkward and frantic time of my life, in its fabric was woven a rich tapestry of lessons, loves and life enriching secrets. Secrets that I had to unlock in order to level up in life.
I know some people just love high school and although that was definitely not me, look how much I learnt!
Just don’t make me ever do it again.
How about you? Did you love or loathe high school? What lessons did you learn that were not taught in the classroom? I’d love you to share in the comments below, and visit a few other gorgeous bloggers while you are there.
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