Beyond the Classroom
I’ve been sorting through a lot of old things lately and came across a series of essays from 2003-2004. I thought they deserved to see the light.
It’s comparable to the twilight zone, of a painting by Salvador Dali. It’s a giant bubble that consumes four years of every teenager’s existence. Friendships are forged; hearts are broken. Games are played; games are lost. Lessons are taught, not just on Reimann Sums, butterfly migration, and Shakespearean sonnets, but also on relationships, living life to the fullest, and independence. This plan is where we begin to invest the peril we will become; it’s is high school.
North Olmsted High School is nestled snugly between the sparse woods behind Burns Road homes and the Revere Drive creek. Two gyms, two floors, one cafetorium, seven drinking fountains, and an extensive array of different floor coverings are only a few of the features NOHS proudly boasts, but the best and most important parts of NOHS aren’t facility related. The people inside the building and their relationships are what really matter.
The transition from eighth grade to freshman year was one the greatest adjustments I’ve ever had to make. High school was an amazing, complicated place filled with sophisticated people who had deep thoughts and incredible ideas. I made new friends with upperclassmen, went to parties, and stayed out past midnight. I didn’t think life could get any better. I was right. Freshmen year everything was exciting because it was new. Shopping for my first formal dress was so exciting, now ti’s almost a chore. My friends and I were obsessed with a senior. He was the epitome of cool in our eyes and he even talked to us on occasion. He was the drum major, and we spend many a night TPing his yard. School wasn’t hard, and I had lots of friends who loved me and knew me inside and out. I was naive, and I was happy.
Senioritis is a common ailment among upperclassmen. An equally detrimental illness is the lesser-known sophmoritis. Students who fall prey to spohomoritis feel that they’ve learned everything they need to know about the wold, having spent an entire year being freshmen, and are now equipped to rule the world. I joined every club I had time for, became a crew chair at theater, and stage-managed the musical, while still managing to squeeze in my homework and some sort of a social life. Last year, I considered myself far superior to the lowly freshmen; I could never have been as obnoxious or stupid as they. I dated a senior and attend more parties. The people I used to be friends with changed, as we grew more independent of one another. People I had known since elementary school were drinking on the weekends, and although I never really felt pressured myself, sometimes it felt like the the whole world was choosing the wrong path.
This year has been unlike any year before it. I’m finally comfortable in my own skin. I’m no longer worried about being the best, or the most popular, or the most involved. I do activities that matter the most to me: theater and band. I make a conscious effort to talk to people and find our what they have to say I consider school my second home, and as much as I’ll enjoy graduating and moving on with my life, I will miss the people who walk the high school halls. I enjoy watching and listening to my peers. The drama doesn’t seem so dramatic anymore. I have a lot more work to do and I find myself coming home earlier than I did two years ago. I enjoy quiet nights with a few close friends instead of huge parties. I can drive myself where I want to go and I’ve become more confident and more independent. Junior year we found our niche and grow up.
High School is a huge part of the bridge that connects childhood to adulthood. Morals are tested. Friendships flourish and flounder. We grow up and make mistakes. We become independent and then realize how dependent we really are. The lessons of high school go beyond numbers, reports, and subjects that can be taught in the classroom. North Olmsted High School had been my home away form home for the past three years, and although I won’t be sad to leave it, NOHS has taught me about myself, and prepared me for the future.