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Oh, To Be Young Again…What I Miss From High School

Spring has sprung, and as campus floods with prospective students wandering wide-eyed beneath hovering parents, I cannot help but remember my own pre-college experiences. My first reaction is a shiver of disgust, as memories of catty friend drama and GPA stress rear their ugly heads. But beneath that disdainful surface, I recently discovered that there were several parts of high school that were just plain AWESOME, and, unfortunately, will never happen again. Here is my personal list–in no particular order:

1. The On-Call Mother. She will hate me for that title. Now that I am in college, my mom can’t drop off that homework assignment I forgot on my desk or the PB&J I left on the kitchen counter. Even if she could, who would she leave it with? There is no Main Office staffed by friendly old ladies named Wanda or Patty. If I were to leave something behind, I’d have no one to call but the fairies of good fortune to conjure up some distraction to delay the start of class.

2. Lunch. It just isn’t the same anymore. It’s neither splattered onto a tray in a noisy cafeteria nor bundled up in a brown paper bag with “Have a good day Sweet Pea!” emblazoned on the front in cursive. Not to brag, but my mom was also known to write encouraging notes on Snowman-themed napkins hidden at the bottom of the bag.

3. Group Tests. Come on, those were too good to be true–even while they were happening. The groups would always merge, so it was basically a class test. Sometimes the teacher would sit down and join in too. How this tested our comprehension of the material, I do not know, but it did help our networking skills a bit—only associate with those who will benefit you in the future. (I’m kidding. Kind of.) That drool-soaked kid snoring in the back every day? I don’t know his name and he is not about to be part of my group test.

4. Exam Re-Takes. “Oh you failed? Let me kindly write the correct answers in red, then give you the same test next week and see if you do any better, pumpkin.” Never again.

5. Street Hockey in PE. Nothing was more therapeutic than scoring a goal against the obnoxious kids who viewed PE as a professional sport and considered themselves high-earning elites. My brief moment of satisfaction was never nearly as intense as the inferno of rage that burst forth from the goalie’s entire being when he was beaten 1-0 by the Blue Team…but it was still so worth it.

6. Yearbook signing day. By senior year, we were far beyond HAGS, and teachers would literally postpone class to let us write sexual innuendos in the back pages and draw mustaches on the class photos of the people who deserved them. It’s hard not to shed a nostalgic tear upon reading “Great meeting you this year. You know what’s even harder than our Pre-Calc class? You will if we hang out this summer.” Classic. 

7. Homecoming Week. This week is comprised of ridiculous competitions rigged by Leadership (always seeming to favor the seniors), not-so-subtle hints to certain boys that I would be interested in attending the homecoming dance, and endearingly embarrassing T-shirts with slogans like, “Juniors: Creepin’ our way to the top” (it might not seem terribly clever, but that’s because you don’t know the theme. Wait for it…Haunted Mansion! Ah, yes, revel in the wit.) This week was always capped off with the one football game of the year I would grace with my presence…although my presence was only due to my desire to watch the Homecoming Royalty parade around the track–it felt like movie-magic, a real Hollywood moment. 

I’m sure if you think about it for a second, you can form a list of the particular aspects of high school that you may have forgotten to appreciate. Take those bittersweet emotions and channel them into cliché gratitude for everything amazing about college. As for high school seniors, while you all count down the days until graduation, savor each moment of your last couple months of the warm-up for the best years of your life. As my buddy John Hughes likes to say whenever we hang out, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”


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