Michelle’s Musings: High school only what you make it

By Michelle Pitcher

“You’ll realize in five years that high school doesn’t matter at all.”

The sentiment was reiterated to me again and again by my relatives this past Thanksgiving. The words, meant to encourage me through the difficult college application process, made me wonder why everyone was so quick to deem an entire period in their lives inconsequential.

I would hate to think that these past 17 years have meant nothing at all.

I, for one, would rather not walk across the stage at graduation with nothing to show for it. I have spent three and a half years at Coppell High School, and they have been some of the most formative times in my life. I have experienced loss, friendship, failure, achievement – I have traveled across the world and discovered amazing things in my own backyard.

I sure as heck hope that these experiences mean something.

Of course, I understand that people mature quickly after high school, far removed from cliques and feuds with teachers and overbearing parents, but we are also maturing throughout the entire high school experience (some just aren’t so keen to show it).

Everyone, myself included, is so quick to hit fast forward through, dreaming all the while of the mystical world of college and beyond; but it is the experiences we have in high school that determine where we can go from here.

As a senior, I am reminded every day that colleges are watching my grades, that I should not slack lest I want to appear unmotivated to the board of admissions officers. I have been told since freshman year that getting involved in different organizations will “look great on a college application!” I have felt, on more than one occasion, that my class rank and SAT score defined me.

We are programmed to view these four years as a transitional phase, one in which the weak are weeded out from the mighty. We are constantly told to look forward, but no one ever bothers to tell us to look around.

This community has had more than its fair share of loss. It should be inherent that we should not take anything for granted, that we live each day to the fullest and appreciate those around us. It should be this way, but it is not.

I wrote in countless college essays that I wanted to make my life mean something, but I wonder why I can’t start now. Now is the time to start laying the groundwork, discovering ourselves and our values and our capabilities. Now is the time to explore our interests and decide exactly where we want to go from here.

If no one else thinks these four years matter, I am going to make sure they matter to me.