Can I just say, I really loved high school.
I’m in the middle of a little freakout about what I’m doing with the rest of my life and I came across Max Willson’s Israel album that he gave to us on CDs before graduation.
How much of that trip do I even remember? How much of high school do I even remember? And that begs the question: how much of college will I remember in 5 years?
I’m looking through these pictures of myself, just having turned 17, and seeing all the amazing places we went. I’m seeing the way my friends looked in 2005 and wondering if I’ve changed as much as them. I’m seeing my class really enjoying being together and comfortable with one another and that last, cold night where we all said goodbye. The pictures stir up whisps of vague memories…I remember that building but what did we do there? I remember the day we all wore white and blue but what was the assembly about in that high school in Tel Aviv? I remember the camel ride and the Berber tent but what happened that day?
Despite my forgetfulness, these pictures remind me that I have lost something. We owned that school. It was ours and we made it and it gave us so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have explored on my own. It introduced me to Los Angeles, New York, Big Bend, camping, Israel, and a community that was always there. I don’t have that community anymore. It didn’t exist at Northwestern and I may never have that again. Based on the turnouts at reunions, we’ve all forgotten how important we once were to one another without even trying to be.
It’s only normal to move on after high school, of course. It’s pathetic not to. But when I was looking at Max’s pictures I remembered how secure I felt there. I had faith in the future and no matter who I didn’t get along with we were still bonded together the way families are. I’ll probably never again have a group of people who I have that relationship with.
High school wasn’t all flowers and sunshine and rainbows. I was depressed for almost all of 10th grade, I worked really hard and was overwhelmed with how the hell I was going to get everything done, I had teachers and classes and students I didn’t like, and I hated the process of applying to college and studying for APs (only to find out at Northwestern that APs are a big fat waste of time). But the security and support I felt there I will never experience again. And most people never experience that ever.
So I’m just saying, we had something really special for those four years. Other people will never fully understand it and I’ve forgotten it myself. But I can’t imagine a better school. Who knows how different I am now because of it.