How to Deal with Sudden High School Nostalgia

I wrote this poem shortly after one of my best friends won Student of the Year last May, while I was still a senior in high school. I had been clearing out my Google Docs when I came across this poem only last week


“You owe me a dollar” and

You were a debtor.

“She is always smiling” and

You were a model.

“That’s my girl” and

You were glowing.

“She finally found the pedestal she was meant for.” I thought

And I meant it.


When I read this poem I was suddenly, in the midst of studying for midterms and all of my finals, taken through a nostalgic high school whirlwind. I got out my class of 2018 yearbook, and started flipping through the pages, laughing at some of the signatures, and crying about others.

I looked at every photo I was included in, and suddenly felt uncomfortable with the amount of physical difference between me nine months ago and me now. My hair was longer, my decorum was laidback, and I was thriving. My hair is now gone, I am always pleasantly working, and I have arrived to see all the goals I made in high school see completion. There’s something more hopeful in 17-year-old me’s face than in my current one, but there’s also more understanding in my 18 year-old face than in my senior pictures. I felt nostalgic and almost sad that I no longer was the smiling senior in her red cardigan.

Let’s get one thing straight- I was not that person who loved high school. Sure, high school was fun, I had great friends, interactive teachers, and good grades. I wouldn’t consider myself to be the girl that counted down the literal minutes till graduation, but I also wouldn’t consider myself as the girl who dreaded receiving her cap and gown. Because I wasn’t a high school mourner, I was surprised that I was suddenly overwhelmed by these high school memories. I thought that college would make high school obsolete, but turns out the opposite is true.

After spending some time looking at all my fun memories and shedding a few tears, I pulled out my laptop and read some online journal entries I made during the first weeks of college. I realized shortly that even though I was happy in high school, I was no less happy in college. In fact, college made some parts of my life happier. I had more time out of class and in the sun, more choices for activities to do with my weekends, and less drama between my friends.

So here’s the lesson from my nostalgia from high school- it’s a thing. If you’re a freshman and experiencing this, I want to affirm your emotions and tell you, yeah, it’s okay to feel sad about high school and the memories you left behind. Please don’t dwell on it, just let the emotion pass, but feel your nostalgia nonetheless. And then, get up, and go live your college life. No use in worrying about a high school life when your much more exciting college life is ahead.

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