My Story: Not a Movie

On March 13, 2020, I was 14 years old. I walked into Community with the next four years on my mind. It sounded like a lifetime. I thought of all I could do in four years, and promised myself not to let it slip away. To not rush through the days, or take it for granted like every graduate had told me.

Throughout our lives, high school is presented as this picturesque experience in movies and throughout the media. You’re supposed to make friends, come of age and of course, have fun.

But that is far from my reality.

High school after March 13, 2020 was not what I had signed up for.

I felt cheated.

And then guilty that I felt cheated.

I felt as though my last years to mess up, make mistakes and be free from responsibility were being stolen from me. Then I thought none of that should matter because there’s something bigger going on in the world. My problems felt miniscule

I spent the entirety of my sophomore year online. Although I was indescribably angry and dejected, I would remind myself, “It’s only my sophomore year, I’ll be able to get through my sophomore slump, at least I’m not an upperclassman yet.”

I’ve made it to junior year. And I’m in person. I started to feel like I was really learning again and making connections with teachers and friends. I met more new people in that first month than I did during the entirety of my year online.

That’s when I realized that it doesn’t matter if you’re a proclaimed extrovert or introvert, if you have a close knit group of friends or know the entire school. We need to have a sense of belonging and that’s impossible to feel through a screen.

I felt such a sense of relief to know we would be going back in person for the new school year. That sophomore slump was behind me and I knew this year was going to be different.

Back in the classroom, the transition was hard, one of the hardest ever. At that point though, I would have done just about anything to feel even a twinge of teenage normalcy. To get a sliver of what I had been expecting. To act recklessly as though I was in my own coming of age movie.

High school however, is not a movie.

When it was announced we would start back online after the winter break, so quickly that sophomore slump came rushing back to me. I envisioned having to spend the next year online again and became overwhelmed by my inability to stop it from happening.

Before the break ended I hung out with close friends of mine and we reflected on our years together like we often do. We laughed and cringed at the memories and looked back on photos.

I was focusing too much on the uncontrollable pieces of my life and replaying the past years with my friends made me feel like I was brought back to reality. I remembered that my entire sophomore year was not a slump, that I actually did have fun, I learned and grew and most importantly I made it through.