A reflection on my past four years of high school


William Baik, Staff Writer

Let’s be honest—I don’t have much to reflect on about The Howler. It’s only been one year for me, a senior, who chose to stay at home the entire time. I stayed within my comfort zone and rode it out, giving effort when it was demanded and disappearing when it wasn’t. Do I regret the experience? Not really. Do I wish I demanded more out of it? Perhaps. But experience is fickle. Sometimes you feel like the fruit borne from your effort is as ripe as ever—sweet and delectable. Other times, it just exists. A hanging reminder of fleeting passions and limited time. And I think, strangely, the most pertinent opportunity The Howler gave me was a reflection upon the experiences I chose to gather throughout high school. To think about if these experiences are the ones I chose to make, the ones I’ll cherish and more importantly, if they’re the ones I won’t regret. It’s a fruitless reflection, but a lot of things have been fruitless this year, so I might as well try. 

It’s probably ideal to start with The Howler, for, well, the obvious reason. I didn’t think I’d be here, to be frank. I never had an inclination to begin journalism, and I definitely did not want another class where I had to write even more. But I decided to try; nothing really spurs regret like not trying at all. I had my qualms in the beginning, but I think the drive of the class really stuck out to me. It’s definitely not hard to notice. Same idea for Speech and Debate—passion is hard to find in a core subject, so it’s in classes like these where you can observe those who truly cherish their experience that you begin to understand the allures of creating them on your own fruition. And even though journalism wasn’t really the start of my pursuit to create something I would care for deeply throughout high school, it definitely reminded me that the experiencethat high schoolwas something that I had to give myself to in order for it to return to me with something. 

Funnily enough (maybe depressingly, although it’s up to interpretation), I don’t think I ever really formed that. It’s not that I absolutely despised my existence hereit’d be a little pretentious of me to forgo the memories my friends and teachers alike have been willing to give me. I am truly grateful for that. Still, I just felt like I never met it, whether it be through music, club activities or sports. Perhaps I set the bar too high. Perhaps I scrambled past the things that would have given me whatever it is that I was looking to make out of high school. Perhaps I was lazy. A plethora of reasons to choose from, but none that I could particularly point to and say with confidence that that was the reason why. But despite that, I never once felt disappointed. That, to me, was strange, but I think I came to the realization that even if I wasn’t satiated by the fruits that my dedication or my efforts brought back to me, part of me felt content that I had even tried, and that the value of living life doesn’t have to stem from what you receive. I wouldn’t say it’s all about the journey, but I think in some shape or form, I don’t think it’s wrong to think that true contentment will come from knowing you tried things once you reflect on them down the line. 

I think it’s fine to come out of high school feeling regretful and unhappy. It happens. Where it takes us may be less fine, but it’s unfair to expect yourself to be as happy-go-lucky and relieved as people around you tend to be once it’s time to graduate. I don’t really want to offer advice because I think it’s rather cliché and I don’t really have this figured out, but I think that even if I won’t look back on high school as a magical four years, the fact that I’ve at least understood myself a little better because of the experiences it’s given me is a good enough gift. And it’s wholly possible that I’m just being some depressed teen who thinks he knows what he’s talking aboutI don’t really doubt that possibility. All I know is that for now, even if I didn’t enjoy the experience I chose to shape for myself, I can always take pride in knowing that I at least tried, and hope, one day, that perhaps its value will emerge as well.