What No One Told Me About High School

Why does it feel as if I’m in a reptile exhibit rather than a high school?


Kiley Russell, Staff Reporter

When going into high school, parents and upperclassmen tell you to be wary of the stresses of academics and extracurriculars; but what they don’t tell you is how to handle the overwhelming amount of gossip, drama, and social anxiety that high school can produce.

Throughout four years of high school it is hard to avoid experiencing the gossip and drama that no one warned you about. By the time you become a junior or senior, many people you’ve been friends with for years become someone completely different, and friends who you promised you’ll never part from become distant acquaintances.

Here’s what no one told me before entering high school, and a few pieces of advice on how to combat it:

  1. You will probably never (or very rarely) talk to your best friends from middle school. When I came to La Salle (all my friends went to Central Catholic), I lost almost all communication with them, and had to socially start over at La Salle.
  2. I’ve noticed it is easy to end up involved within drama even if that is not the intention. To avoid this, my advice is to simply choose not to get involved with other people’s business, as it tends to be a mess. I began to realize that minding my own business and focusing on things that concern myself and only myself helps… a lot.
  3. I wish I would’ve known my eighth grade boyfriend wouldn’t last forever. Now in my junior year, I realize there are plenty of fish in the sea. Little did I know that two months into my freshman year would result in a devastating break up, a bad GPA, and zero people at La Salle to call my friends. I’ve learned that coming to high school with an open mind and no boyfriend would have been a better choice for me and others.
  4. Snakes — a common word within the youth of today, but give me a few moments to explain what this word really means. The word “snake” refers specifically to someone who does people wrong, lies, manipulates, or snitches. Don’t be known as a snake. That’s a heavy label to carry. A way to prevent this is to again, mind your own business; it surprisingly works very well.
  5. High school is NOTHING like High School Musical. There are no intense love stories or instantaneous singing and dancing in the cafeteria, unless Mr. Kuffner is feeling a little daring and plays Christmas songs during lunch. When I shadowed my sister my eighth grade year, I expected everyone to be friends with everyone, and for everyone to look happy and excited to be there. IT WAS HIGH SCHOOL — how could you not love it there?! But after actually getting into La Salle, I slowly began to realize you can be best friends with someone for a week, then have a group of completely different friends the next. I didn’t foresee my own personal changes (and the changes of several of my friends) that would occur over the three years I’ve been here.
  6. Many people will be extremely nice to you face to face, even your supposed “best friend,” but you may come to hear from several other individuals that they’re saying the worst things about you behind your back. And when you calmly go ask that person if it’s true, they deny all accusations, reverse the anger onto you, and now you’re the bad guy. Then you’ll be stuck here wondering, was it true? What do I do? Are they mad at me? There’s nothing you can do. If you spend your time worrying about other people, high school remains miserable. I learned to look past the negativity thrown at me on an everyday basis and focus on my own issues.

As my time at La Salle progresses I have come to the realization that high school is not all it’s cracked up to be. It is filled with stress, drama, and fake friends. Everyone always talks about how hard the academics will be, but never warns you about the social standards that you are expected to meet or exceed. Through the years I’ve sometimes found myself thinking, Why did nobody tell me this side of it? Why does it feel as if I’m in a reptile exhibit rather than a high school?

But even though there are several negatives I have faced throughout high school, I finally have found the people I want to spend the rest of my time with. I have completely opened my mind to people I used to think I’d never speak to again, and I have never been happier. I have chosen to surround myself with people who respect me, and people that I trust would not talk poorly about me behind my back. If these events wouldn’t have happened, I wouldn’t have the amazing, true friends I have now.

So I guess there’s a silver lining here: perhaps all my experiences, both good and bad, are to thank for the person I am today. Yes, I’ve learned that high school can be full of gossipers, snakes, backstabbers, and hate, but I’ve also learned that through it all, some people will simply always be there. I guess that’s what makes high school unique – the beauty in the madness.