Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dear High Schoolers: Five Things to Look Forward to

Well, your life sucks. You're bound to your parents, homework's got you down, and studies show that you probably have the same stress level as an average psychiatric patient from fifty years ago. But guess what, high schoolers? It's gets better! Just hold on in there until college.

Everyone is Lying to You

I'm sleeping way more than I ever did in high school. Sophomore year was my worst. Back then, I averaged five hours and fifteen minutes a night. Now I've achieved that mythical eight hours. Since I pick my own schedule, my classes started at 10:00, 12:00, or 1:00, depending on the day. My only motivation to wake up early-and by early I mean 8:30-is getting to the cafeteria in time for omelette hour.

Not Sitting Behind Pentagram Hat Boy

In my last semester of senior year, I spent my seventh period sitting behind this kid in a knit pentagram beanie. He and his buddies, who'd all chosen seats against the wall, would complain about how they got kicked out of some place for smoking and had to go to the vacant lot against the street, but the lot itself wasn't so bad, just that "there's not even a wall to lean against, just a pole", and they didn't want to take turns with the pole.
College separates the wheat from the chaff. Of course you'll find new annoying people, but they're a higher caliber of annoying, so this feeling is gone.

When Are We Ever Gonna Use This is Dead

Only one or two classes are required required. Some grit-your-teeth-and-bear it classes are required for your major, but you chose your major because you liked it more than a hundred or so other options. Your schedule dissolves into the needs and wants: stuff you have to know for your future and stuff you want to learn just because you're in college and you can.
At least, that's my life. I had a graduate from my major and a guy who works for the university sit next to me for two hours while I planned out my schedule. That's why I can take fun classes and sleep whenever I want. Not everybody had that foresight. A few weeks ago, a girl in my study group complained that she'll "Never need to know" all the factoids about Mesopotamian pottery we were memorizing for a test. All I could think was, "Well, you signed up to pay hundreds of dollars for this class instead of the one of the fourteen classes from eleven different programs that could fill this requirement. That's your first problem."
Okay, so there's still some chaff.

People Exist Outside of School

For years, I thought there were two types of people my age: school people and outside people, who came from my neighborhood or extracurriulars. Sometimes school people could become outside people if I invited them over. But most of the time they stayed in their sphere.
Then I'd go somewhere, like Target, and suddenly they're there buying orange juice. It was always jarring. Were they supposed to exist outside of school? In high school the boundaries got thinner, since we had afterschool culture and cars to meet up places, but now they're completely gone. You sleep a floor away from people in your classes.

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Everything is an Adventure

Today I made an egg salad sandwich.
That sounds like such a small thing, but I'm in a dorm room and don't have a good way to boil eggs. Not to mention that buying a carton would take up half the space in my mini fridge. Then there's mayonnaise and mustard. If I buy them, I have to be intending to make a habit of this, because I don't need entire bottles for one sandwich.
Then a few days ago I went to the gym vending machines for a snack. Gym people want to be healthy, so this vending machine has real people food instead of just skittles. Apparently some people like to suck on eggs while they walk to their workout. There they were, already hard boiled, two of them nestled snug against each other. But I still needed condiments. Our cafeteria has a no food past the door rule. But I've smuggled deserts and fruit before. This time I filled three condiment cups with mayonnaise, mustard, and a salt and pepper mix. I snuck them out the door. Success!
Now, after four days of eying those eggs in the fridge, I get to eat them.
I've made plenty of egg salad sandwiches in my life. But this one I'm proud of because I had to plan it out and find a way to put all the pieces together.
It reminds me of getting my driver's license. Sure, I'd been in hundreds of cars before, going thousands of places, but this time I got to take the wheel. So when I told weekend stories to my friends every Monday, I was careful to say "I drove to the movies" instead of  "I went to the movies", and they'd get a play-by-play of my adventures in traffic. Doing things on your own makes every little thing an adventure.

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