What Happens After High School?


In high school I was not a popular kid. I wasn’t unpopular, either. I existed in some unknown sort of state where I was not disliked, but not particularly liked either. I sort of drifted among friend groups, never really finding my crowd.


I wasn’t friendless entirely. I had one close friend, who was very similar to me in terms of humor. I appreciated their companionship during high school, and even beyond it during the summer of my graduation.


Then came college.


At college I was suddenly faced with a much larger range of people. Quite larger than my small town podunk school with a graduating class size of 65. At first it was intimidating to me that so many people were here, and I was still haunted by the idea that I would again be a friendless ghost roaming the halls.


That’s not what really happened, of course. While I struggled with making friends my freshman year, I’ve done a lot better my sophomore year (Thanks therapy). However, I find myself still haunted by the idea that I’m not truly happy. 


The crux of this feeling that I’m unhappy is that I’ve lived most of my life having only one friend, with most other people simply being acquaintances. I expected for years that this would be the rest of my life, the idea which was often exacerbated by online searches and message boards about how INFJs never make any friends, or friends not being worth your time. I had resigned myself to this ideal, so when college arrived and I found myself making friends more easily, I was floored.


I figured something must be wrong with myself. I imagined that I was “faking” being happy in these relationships. I could only be happy around one person, after all. 


I still think something is wrong with me, that I’m pretending to like other people, or that the new sides of myself that I see growing aren’t really me. The idea that I could have multiple aspects to myself is still so strange to me. Often times when I discuss almost anything with a college friend I wonder, “Is this me?” The topics discussed are often ones I rarely discussed with my friend at home, such as our plans for the future, how society functions, and even small topics like makeup or birds. Anything is grounds for me examining whether or not it’s “me.”


It’s difficult for me to admit that to some effect I’ve flourished in a way. There are many parts of me now, besides just me being a good shy student. I’m a writer now, a citizen well-informed of the world, and just someone who likes to go to the gym. Almost a year into my journey on these paths and I have not yet found contentedness. Yet.


I’m not sure where to go from here, or if this is just how life is. I lean more on the side that this is how life will be, as I can’t always hold myself to the past. I must face exploration and new parts of myself.


I used to view the future as one single path, with no forks or turns. I still understand the future as one single path. However, I understand that the lack of paths to the future is because you must make those paths yourself. Else, you run the risk of remaining stuck in your ways.