The High School Experience: A Matter of Perspective

Alexa Lee, Editor

There is an increasingly prevalent problem taking place at JM. It isn’t marijuana, it isn’t the “vapes”, the “juuls”, the fights, it isn’t the 1%, downwards of 100 students who are troubled enough to actually act out in ways like these. Without saying that these aren’t problems, these are the only things the community as a whole seems to focus on. The adults seem to lose sight of the kids who are alone, and not by choice, internally kind of… cracking. They can’t constantly feel lonely within their society and still function as a regular student, treated with the same amount of pressure. Sometimes the internal feelings are enough to just completely make them lose themselves to the loneliness. There’s a kind of social segregation that takes on a toxic role within JM, and it’s the force that generally ruins high school.
It can be so disheartening to feel like your voice in the community has been silenced. It’s far too common a case that people just drift from the main focus in their society, and feel a crushing sense of worthlessness as people ignore their efforts to be heard. High school is a time when kids are pressured to find themselves; we know the smart kid, the nice kid, pretty, fashionable, popular… We divide our personality traits into facets to try to fit into stereotypes, so we know how to present ourselves. If we know how people see us, then we know how people would like us to be. And more than anything, we want to be liked. When our efforts continuously fail, we assume it is a failure of our own efforts.
If this is you, I’d just like to say that this is not the case. Others, unwilling to stray from their tight-knit groups and superficiality, trample those who can’t achieve what they do. People seem to be less forgiving to those less social, those less special, and it’s no fault of yours. For a while I’d noticed growing feelings of discontent directly caused by this, in the words of Dr. King, “nobodiness”, within my community. I couldn’t see my purpose within it, so what’s the point? Nobody seems to hear your voice, figuratively and literally. The students make you a loser, teachers decide you are dumb. Though it would be nice, the reality is that teachers can’t feasibly connect with every student, considering the number of students they have to take care of over their years of teaching. You really aren’t dumb, you really do try… but there’s that proviso you can’t overcome… you provide no proof. Getting knocked down so frequently by your confidence that seems to buckle every time something makes you feel even a little useless, you look unmotivated; you have no pride in your work, no incentive to overcome the grips of societal banishment.
It’s a matter of being apt enough to just understand once you’ve been “outcast”, as cheesy as it is. People stop talking to you, and don’t seem to care. When you miss school, it doesn’t miss you. When you’re down, nobody’s there to help you. As it keeps happening that those around you continuously ignore you, you lose hope for anything more. The only friendliness you know is the passing glance and the superficial, charitable compliment every other day. The gesture is beneficial only to the giver, providing a sense that they’re “helping” the community through that puny, minuscule gesture. Those on the receiving end of the “superficial compliment” understand it for what it is. It’s the givers’ atonement, their donation to society so that after that paltry, conceited moment of charity they feel satisfied within themselves. I think that’s the problem. Society teaches people who are satisfied within their relationships that through a meaningless sentence they can make someone else feel satisfied. There is an obvious flaw in this way of thinking, for it’s not as simple as the rat who pushes a button for food and immediately receives; a moment of kindness errs more on the side of penitence than genuinity.

High school memories vary from person to person, but the experience that society tends to present to itself is… much different from the reality that some face for four years. There seems to be this misconception that bonds are formed from struggle and societal pressures, and that people will be friendly because they understand, and sometimes that genuinely is the case. But unfortunately, for our outcasts, our loners, our “lost kids”… high school feels much different from its perceived nature.