Over the last month I have had time to look back on what happened over my school experience. I have been able to actually relax for the first time in 4 years, go on vacation (blog post to come) and to go home to spend time with my family and friends. Spending time at home allowed me to realize how lucky I was to grow up in the town I did. Cortland may be small and definitely has gone down hill since my experience going through the school system; however, it was the sense of community that formed my experience. I love my neighborhood and I will be sad when the day comes in the next few weeks when my mom calls me to let me know the house has officially sold.
But getting to spend time with my high school friends allowed me to reflect on how different my college experience was vs. my high school time. Because of my busy schedule with basketball and school and co-oping in the summer, I wasn’t able to go home for more than a few days at a time during the four years so I hadn’t seen my friends more than a handful of times. I realized how much I had missed them but I also realized that there were people in my town that hadn’t grown up since leaving high school…to put it simply, a lot of things were the same as if it were four years ago, only this time, I was different, along with a handful of others. I am sure it is the same in a lot of other small towns but for me the only experience I have to go on is my own.
Catching up over drinks with some of the girls, I realized that my high school experience wasn’t as unique as I had thought in the sense that when I felt excluded, I wasn’t the only one. High school was not my favorite time, I had my friends but I got used and walked all over just because I wanted to fit in. High school is filled with “mean girls” or “popular people” that feel that they are better than others. Sadly a lot of them don’t realize that they are the stereotypical mean person. Now, I am not saying my school was like the movie, Mean Girls but I think every high school has their similarities.
I am very fortunate to have been able to go to a school like RIT because of its diverse nature, everyones willingness to except virtually everyone and how “real” most people are. I think in high school everyone is trying so desperately to fit in and find their way or define who they are, they tend to just go with the crowd.
Now I am sure there are some that might read this and go, “what the hell is she talking about” because I appeared to have a really good high school experience and was friends with the “popular” people and don’t get me wrong, I did but it wasn’t my favorite time but I know I did not have it the worst, my situation could have been so much worse and I am sorry for those who were mistreated or victimized in high school by bullies, either mentally or physically. I was never a victim of physical violence; however, I definitely had my fair share of mind games played on me. Looking back on it, I think that high school was the way it was for me because I knew I had so much more in my future that was outside of this town so I just let it be and didn’t fight for something better. By the end of my senior year I was sick of being taken advantage of, coming in second place for plans with people and ready for a change and ready to make my mark on the world at RIT and beyond.
So for those of you reading this, that felt like me in high school, the girl that didn’t want to go out and drink, who would rather watch a movie with her mom than be out trying to sneak into a bar, read a book on the weekend instead of hanging out at the mall, who put everything she could into getting better on the court for her team, or set a goal and did everything in her power to accomplished it, this post is for you. Life is so much better when you are true to yourself, when you believe in yourself and know that you can accomplish anything you set your mind too. Know that the mean girls in high school will probably still be stuck in high school (figuratively) in four years and know that if you allow yourself to get out of your town, you will be embraced for who you are.
I haven’t changed much since high school, though some would (and have) said I have changed. But for those who believe I have changed, I have changed for the better. I no longer allow people to walk all over me, I have grown up and believe in myself and try and better myself. When I have a problem with someone I don’t spread gossip I confront that person nor do spread gossip that was shared with me. However, in my opinion I am not far from that girl who choose to be home with her mom and sister watching a movie over sneaking into a bar. I would rather have a chill night with friends and some drinks than get hammered at a club. I would still rather not waste hours at the mall and I continuously challenge myself in new ways mentally and athletically (though no longer for a team) and strive to reach every goal I set.
So to that girl in high school, who was just like me…I promise, life is so much better when you choose the way you want to live.