Before I start writing this, I want to note that I am not writing any of this because I am hung up on something that happened many years ago. It is completely because I hope that it teaches people something, particularly our younger people in society. Life in and of itself is hard enough that we need to care more about one another. When we have the opportunity to reach out to people, to make them feel good about themselves, to give them comfort, to make them feel like they are a part of something, that they are someone, etc. we need to take the opportunity.
This past weekend, I found out that two people that I graduated from high school with are engaged to be married; I suppose that makes them high school sweethearts. I remember both of them, I was in classes with both of them. I never hated them, hate is such a strong word, and I think it's reserved for people who have really wronged you, and I think it's reserved for people you really know. I didn't know them, and all evidence supported the theory that they didn't want to know me. They didn't want to know anyone outside of their little group.
I went to Catholic School from kindergarten to 8th grade, and my education during those nine years is something I am immensely proud of. I believe it shaped me to be the person that I am today. When I graduated from 8th grade and it was time to go to high school, my parents didn't have the money to send me to a private high school and instead I attended Wellesley High School, nothing to be ashamed of, it's one of the best high schools in the state. The only problem was that I did not know anyone going to Wellesley High School; I was always shy growing up, very awkward, private; I found it difficult to talk to people and even more difficult to make friends. I don't know what to attribute the social awkwardness that I had to. I think I had so many friendships that I thought were real and actually weren't that I became overly guarded.
I think the thing that bothered me most about high school is how overrated it was. This year will be my tenth year reunion. I see no reason to go. I knew all of maybe ten people in my class of over 200. I am probably better off, but then again, I may never know. High school was overrated in the sense that it was fun for the so called popular kids who were so self involved that they didn't see past the crowd they associated with. If they weren't self involved, they were scared; I understand being scared and I understand insecurity which directly results in being scared and I understand it first hand. I spent many years being insecure.
I admire people who believe in something and believe it with their whole heart. I admire people who have the courage and the guts to take a stand.
You know what would have been really nice in high school? It would have been nice if the popular kids had made an effort to reach out to those who knew no one, to those who were socially awkward. The high school sweethearts, they had all the things that kids in high school want, respectable grades, each other, a clique, but most of all, they were accepted.
It seems that at the end of the day, acceptance is the thing most people are seeking, not just in high school, but in life. Of all the people I attended high school with I can honestly say that I only keep in contact with about four people. I decided a couple of years after high school was over that since so many people didn't care to get to know me, why should I feel so bad, so guilty about not knowing them? Those feelings come because I am a good person, and I care about people other than myself. How I feel is nothing personal, I just happen to feel like maybe those who were more socially fortunate than I should have come down from high atop their pedestal and tried to make high school a better place for everyone. I am not by any means saying it was their responsibility, but it would have been the right thing to do. And not only would they have been doing something nice for others, but it would have made them feel good about themselves.
The sad part of all of this is that most of the people who are popular in high school don't even know how much their actions hurt those around them. It's as if consequences and possessing a conscience does not apply to them. Since I have graduated from high school, the bullying has worsened, the ignoring of others to the point that they don't even feel like they're there has worsened, and the suicide rate of high schoolers has increased. All of those facts are scary.
I'm afraid that the only hope I hold onto is that if these high school sweethearts decide to have children that they will teach their children to be better and kinder to others than they were in high school.
As I have moved forward into my adult life, I have experienced both sides of the coin. There are places I worked where I was well known and well liked, and I made every effort to reach out to new people who I worked with and in influencing others to do the same. I have also worked in places where I knew no one and was just trying to do my job to the best of my ability and go home at the end of the day. I know what it's like, and I know how much easier it is to be that person who is well known and well liked. I say all of this, not to make anyone feel bad, but more to open the eyes of those who had trouble seeing this issue that majorly effects all of us.
Here are some lessons I took away from high school:
Be confident in who you are as a person and be proud of who you are.
You should not care what those who don't care about you think about you.
Real friendship lasts a lifetime.
Treat others the way that you would want to be treated.
Never believe everything that you hear.
Hard work truly does pay off.
Follow your dreams because dreams can come true if you work for it.
If someone hurts you, use it as a learning experience.
No matter how many times you fall down, keep getting back up.
Trust is something that someone has to earn, it is not just given.
Be the change that you want to see in the world.
Remember that it can all start with you, you control your destiny.