Growing up with movies such as “High School Musical” and “Grease,” which portrayed the ideal high school friendships, we sometimes have the expectation of having a perfect relationship, staying in contact after graduation, possibly even graduating from college together and becoming lifelong friends.
When entering high school, we realize our so-called “best friends forever” might not be the people we want to hang out with through high school, and definitely not forever after.
Some high school friendships can be genuine and pure; however, most high school students encounter a friend who stirs up trouble. You are stuck wondering who this person is and why she caused so much ruckus.
With failed friendships come lessons learned and experiences for the future. Some of that insight comes after you leave high school.
“I was always worried about what my friends thought about me. Sometimes my ‘friends’ would make fun of what I wore or what I would do. I always tried to fit in with them, but I realized after high school and once I stopped talking to some of them how much I’ve changed,” said Elisha Priddy, Class of 2017.
“My style has changed so much, and I feel more confident. I know the cliché idea of getting rid of ‘haters’ or the people who bring you down, but honestly, you’ll see how much your life will change. I’m not saying all my friends were bad. I did have some great friends who I could joke with and who really understood what I was going through. But now that I’ve graduated and I’ve had time away from school and friends, I’ve realized I need to focus on what’s important to me and what I like rather than what everyone else thinks. I’ve also become a little more independent. I’m still in contact with a few friends,” Priddy said.
From friends talking bad about you to spreading your deepest secrets, high school is a time to reflect on the kind of people you do and do not want in your life. Although most adults see high school drama as silly, teenagers can be in the “this is the end of the world” mind set when it comes to minor inconvenience.
Most teens have not realized the big question when dealing with high school problems: In five years, will this still matter? It is hard looking at the big picture when the problems are in front of you, which is understandable. However, most teens need a moment to reflect and question if the problem matters in the long run.
“High school definitely opened my eyes to people who are going to be there for me to hang out with, cry with, laugh with and be happy with, which is the positive side of it. However, these past four years also made me realize how fake people can be and also how people you may have strong relationships with or known for years just simply aren’t going to be good friends for you,” said Rebecca Hart, senior.
“In the end, the friends who are inclusive and only want to see you happy and successful are the ones that really matter. Those people have helped me grow as a person. Drama is drama, and there’s no way to get around it, but if you focus on those positive people, you are sure to live a happy life socially & individually,” Hart said.
As time goes on, the friends you were in contact with after high school slowly dwindle down to a lower and lower number. People embark on different pathways and go different directions.
Social media can be a key to maintaining a connection after high school. However, social media cannot replace good face-to-face relationships. “As technology makes it increasingly easy to build a social network of superficial friends, focusing time and attention on cultivating close connections with a few individuals should be a priority,” said Joseph Allen co-author, a psychology professor at Virginia.
Briana Lopez, Class of 2008 graduate and current substitute teacher, said, “I am currently in contact with two high school friends. I think the friendship experiences I had in high school shaped who I am because I learned to be open minded and befriend all kinds of people. I learned to see people for who they are, not what they wear or who they hang out with. I learned most of all how to be a good friend.”
Throughout my high school friendships, one individual has shaped who I am today. Although I have another year left of high school, I can confidently say the friendship of Charlene Morentin has impacted my life for the better.
I met Charlene the second semester of my sophomore year. She came into my life after my chemistry teacher switched us to the same lab table. We became friends almost immediately and connected on a deeper level.
Before I met Morentin, I was dealing with one of the lowest points of my life. Everyday was a struggle to get out of bed. Slowly, seeing her and having her make me happy again gave me a reason to want to attend school. She was there for me when my relationship with my family became difficult and my “friends” began spreading horrible rumors about me.
I had trouble finding motivation to leave the toxicity of my previous friend group. Although I was feeling down, I had Morentin to help me every step of the way. She gave me the care and guidance to show me the way to being happy. She saw me develop into a whole new person, thanks to her. Without her, I am not sure where I would be here today. I would not have the joy she brought my sophomore and junior year. I would not have the love I have in my life now.
I believe our friendship will last the years after high school.
High school is a small percentage of your life, but it has a huge impact on who you will become and where you will go. Friendships and relationships help mold who you are, whether they be good or bad. Lessons are brought, and lessons are learned.
If you are currently dealing amongst high school drama ask yourself: In five years, will this really matter?
Thank you for reading my TED Talk.