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‘I was good at that…now what?’ – post high school thoughts

20 / 12 / 2015

Having finished high school and now on the period of time which is meant to be the ‘best part of your life’ I am filled with a dozen emotions that are making me reflect about this whole school/education deal. Don’t get me wrong, I liked school. I worked my butt off and had great friends. I wasn’t all too keen on most of what I had to shuffle into my brain through mainly rote learning, but I knew in order to fulfill my high standards it was required and after a little while it just became the norm. Practicing flashcards until I could recite them word for word and then gleefully disposing them when their time was up, and the cycle continuing until a month ago when I sat my last exams. I just accepted that it was where my life was at, and through spending 95% of my education at the same institution, it made it pretty easy to do so. The familiarity of the people, the layout and routine was easy and uncomplicated, and I became really good at it. Having spent 12 years in the same school, I developed a stash of self pride in knowing the ins and outs of such a place. It was besides the point whether I actually got excited by it’s offerings, yet this was a small expertise of mine, and I held it firmly with two hands.

I would like to say now that I’ m not a genius, I wouldn’t even call myself a super smart person. Now I am NOT just being humble, because I see this in my own journey. In primary school, let’s be real, it doesn’t matter whether you are ‘gifted’ or less advanced because what counts is behavior. Middle school is where results count and behaviors of a different kind are trying to be controlled by a parade of educators, who are hoping for the smoothest ride through hormones and changing tastes. High school on the other hand, is where everything counts, but really it’s up to you and your own ego, work ethic and attitude what your story is, so have fun and try and live up to everyone’s expectations kid. Myself being raised a conservative, and polite individual, mixed with my introverted quietness sailed through junior and middle school with only moderate individual struggles (yet that’s another story), and the typical friendship shift. I didn’t get good grades, but that didn’t matter. With my polite quietness and report card of; ‘she’s a pleasure to teach’, what I actually got was not of great importance, as other extra–curricular things were. However, as I more consciously came to life in high school, the size of everyone (ridiculously tall and adult looking), and serious facade of it all got to me and I peddled hard to keep up with it all and adhering to my newly found, high expectations. I signed up for everything and was guilt tripped into doing more when the principle in his speeches at assembly, pressed the importance of making the most of your time here, and how lucky we all are. It was the cliche, typical, private school story. Except I was a kinda shy, reserved introverted student who was amongst (mostly) the extroverted involved. I’m not saying that involvement didn’t suit me, it did – at least I don’t regret it. I’m just saying I did what I felt I needed to do in that microcosmic society to stay afloat, and by the end of it, I had received a line of gold stars and the expectations of others and the small demanding soul inside of me, were met.

At this point I realise I’m not making too much sense, and that’s because I have such ridiculously mixed feelings about it. So to have someone else say something on the matter;

‘For almost 18 years you’re taught to sit down, shut up, and raise your hand. Then you have to decide what you’re going to do for the rest of your life.’ Lavon Curtis

Ultimately, I am trying to say that I mastered the art of school life. I worked hard to better my ability and was able to complete such assessments to a tee. Yet, sitting here now after such a massive chapter of my life has been closed, with the confusing openness of the future ahead of me, I just wonder, ‘now what’. Now the ** what. Maybe I am just frustrated that I’m at the base camp yet again and have to start the incline, and maybe I should just celebrate being free from something that clearly I was a teeny bit frustrated about being in. Yet being the wobbly, bright red introverted person that I am, I just thought it would count for more. The effort and the persistence and the whole lot of embarrassment. I mean it taught me a lot, but did it teach me the right syllabus.

I know it did in some areas, and it's the bits in between of interactions and auditions that matter, but I’m not going to lie about how scared about the future I am, and it’s vast endless possibilities. Excited but terrified.