by SAMANTHA ENGLAND
Over the past couple of weeks, I asked over 100 people to fill out a form that asked a very simple question: What is one word that describes your high school experience so far?
Needless to say, the form returned a wide variety of responses. Many people shared words of positivity, many shared words of negativity, and many shared words that were just, well, quirky. The image above is a compilation of all the responses I received. The more a word was repeated, the larger it appears. You may notice the largest was ‘complicated,’ and rightly so. After being here at WHS for three whole years, I’ve felt nothing as consistent as the complications that come with high school. Sometimes, it all seems like a race from your first day of freshman year to graduation, nothing but a blur. Ferris Bueller said it first and has been quoted in pretty much every commencement speech ever, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” High school is complicated, but what else?
Maybe some of those words remind you of your high school experience, they came up close behind ‘complicated.’ The positive and the negative both have a strong pull, and it’s clear that for most people one outweighs the other. Personally, I used to think high school was all about broken hearts and unreasonably long bucket lists, and waking up each new morning with a childlike, reckless abandon that would heed no consequences. Of course, high school isn’t really that much like a coming-of-age movie, but maybe I wasn’t totally wrong. It won’t be the worst part of my life or the best part. It will just be the crazy part. Because we do get up every morning, no matter what happened the night before. It may be a little too late or with a little too much regret, but we keep going through so many peaks and valleys that sometimes it does feel like the movies. Two responses I did not get on the form were ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ Because even if your word is ‘fake,’ you still remember the people that were real. And even if your word is ‘growth,’ you still remember the days that you fell down.
It’s likely that these words remind you of your experience too. I think they speak well to the duality of high school I mentioned earlier. These four years are undoubtedly some of the craziest, so why pick just one good or bad aspect to focus on? I certainly couldn’t. After three of these years, I’ve experienced so many ups and downs that personally, my word is ‘crazy.’ That’s the only possible word that describes both the time I felt more alone than ever, and the time I felt like I was on top of the world. Both times exist, and for both I am thankful.
Of course, high school is too complicated to completely encapsulate in one word. But these are the words that had the strongest pull on Westfield students. These are our words. These are our experiences.
These are, in a word, our lives thus far. I don’t know about you, but mine has been pretty darn... crazy.