At the time of the writing of this column, that's how many days remained until graduation. I have two weeks of class left, compared to the approximately 144 I have been through already. The end is so close that I can almost count the days left on my two hands. This chapter of my life is finally coming to an end.
Throughout high school, and especially in the last year, my friends and I often talked about how much we have suffered in high school, as if suffering was an actual emotion one could experience in such an environment. In the last year, one common phrase that has been uttered is, "If I had another year of high school, I think I would drop out," or something along those lines.
There may be a grain of truth to that statement: I often find myself not being able to put myself in the shoes of a freshman, or even a junior, as the thought of having to experience another one to three years in high school is often too great to bear.
Although this may seem dramatic, it highlights the difficulty many (most) teens experience in their four years of high school. While many (again, most) will complain about it, it is partly this difficulty that has made us the soon-to-be graduates we are. Whether it be pulling an all-nighter on the verge of tears to finish a model bridge that will later ultimately not perform as you had hoped, or having to juggle classes, sports and three different extracurriculars while still trying to maintain a social life, I know for a fact that I would not be the same without having to overcome these obstacles.
During the third trimester of my junior year, I had very easy classes. Most nights, I would come home from track, ask myself if I had homework in one class (the answer most often being no) and then likely spend the rest of the afternoon on my computer. But I discovered that, out of all the terms in high school, that was the most boring. I felt as if I was stagnating. I found myself starting to wish that there was more work, so that I wouldn't feel so bored.
I generally subscribe to the notion that only through adversity can one truly grow, which may simply be my way of rationalizing the multitude of horrible experiences I have encountered both in high school and in my normal life. Nevertheless, high school challenges us in a way that truly does prepare us for the real world. These challenges may be academic, emotional, physical or social. Whatever the challenge, however, being forced to overcome this adversity, with some helpful guidance from adults and peers, is necessary for the socially developing teenager about to leave the nest.
The next time you hear a high-schooler complain about how difficult it is, believe them. For them, high school might be the most difficult thing they have experienced to date. Rather than saying that it's nothing compared to what they will later experience, such as attending college, quietly reassure yourself, if you so feel the need, that they will leave high school with a new appreciation for adversity.
That might be my main takeaway from high school, that adversity can be overcome, and that overcoming adversity experienced in high school prepares us for adulthood and beyond.
But I'm still happy that I'm leaving.