Dear High school,
I guess, on the whole, you treated me well. I am very proud of what I have been able to accomplish over the last five years and I am extremely grateful for the opportunities you have presented me with. Overall, I’ve been very lucky, so thank you, high school. You’ve watched me grow from a shy little girl surrounded by big people with no idea about the things life could throw at her, into an adult who fits into her own skin and is content with where she is headed. I wonder what that was like. To watch not only me but everyone, grow. Even though I can look back on myself and see that I’m a completely different person to who I was five years ago, I don’t remember feeling like I (or anyone else) was growing. Because it just happened day by day. I wonder if it felt more rapid for you. After all, in the whole grand scheme of things, five years isn’t very long. Despite that, I think I have learned more about life in those five years than in all of the thirteen years before that. And even though it probably wasn’t completely up to you, high school, thank you anyway.
The thing is, even though I can look back on you and smile, there are certainly things that could have gone better. But I think maybe some of it is my fault. I’m caught between ‘I wouldn’t change a thing because I might not be where I am today’ and ‘if I could do things again with more knowledge, I would do things differently’. I think perhaps I concentrated too hard on my relationships with certain people instead of my relationships with possibly more important people. I think I found myself in the wrong mixing bowl where I was an ingredient whose flavour didn’t really fit. But it took a whole four years of bubbling away to realise it and by the fifth year I was already too turned to mush to be saved. But you still drank our soup, high school. How was that? Perhaps if I’d mixed with people who were more like me I’d be better off. Instead I’m left feeling, quite frankly, invisible most of the time. But I don’t know, maybe the reason I achieved all the things that I did is because achieving makes me feel seen. But also it could just be that I like to make things. If I could do things over my one wish to myself would be that I had the confidence to tell people how I truly felt instead of hiding behinds smiles all the time. Like when no one made any kind of effort for my 18th birthday and yet I was still expected to make an effort for everyone else. I’ve always made an effort. You would have seen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make you feel sorry for me, because I’m okay, but I’m just saying. And I’d never tell them how much it hurt because they’re my ‘friends’ and ‘friends’ aren’t supposed to hurt you and maybe they just didn’t realise and it can’t be their fault so maybe it’s mine. I guess instead I’ll just leave this with you, high school. Because none of this will matter once I’ve said goodbye.
You’ve surprised me in many ways high school. Or maybe I’ve just surprised myself. Some of my most treasured memories happened on the bus and I certainly never expected that. And the people who I’ll probably miss the most are the ones I never expected to have become close to. I think there are people I hope are reading this and there are people I hope aren’t, but maybe they’re all the same people. All the people I never truly told all the things I should have told. I guess they know now if they’re reading this. But if they’re not, I suppose they’ll never know. I would tell some of them that they should have either told me the truth or showed me that it wasn’t a lie. But in that case I should take my own advice and told them the truth. For the others who I never expressed my appreciation for (if you’re reading this and know who you are), thanks for understanding me, I will miss you even if I don’t show it. I should have spent more time with you instead of those others who never seemed to care.
So, high school, while I didn’t always have a clear path or know who I was while restricted by your walls, you have helped me find all my pieces. And while I may not be fully happy with how things are ending, I am content with how things are for what they are. I know I haven’t been the saddest I’ll ever be, nor have I been the happiest I’ll ever be and I am ready to step off this ride and onto another one. Thank you for the ups and downs and all the thrills in between, but it’s time to face the world and while that terrifies me, I can’t hold your hand forever.
So goodbye, high school. Thank you for having me.