Today was my first official day of summer. Normally, summer is an exciting time for all the opportunities it brings with it. However, this year, summer feels a bit different. I am excited about summer but not necessarily because I get to spend all my time with friends or go out every day. I am excited to get away from the hustle and bustle, from all the drama. Recently, I have come to realize just how draining school can be. I do not necessarily mean mentally or even academically, but more so how it can be socially difficult to keep up with.
I think there is a lot of pressure around having the ‘perfect’ summer, especially in high school. The idea of this, for me, was always a summer filled with beach days with friends, staying up until 3AM on the phone, and going out for pancake brunches. But there is something different about this summer. It’s not the same as last year when things were just opening again– it’s somehow subdued and disjointed. I’m actually relieved to not have eyes on me from my peers asking me to weigh in on the drama. I’m tired of the judgment and decisions about where to sit at lunch and the exclusion. Put simply…high school hurts.
During my time doing school from home, I learned a lot of lessons about Dealing with Drama. I could watch what was going on from the comfort of my phone screen and choose to shut it off when I was ready to turn my focus elsewhere. I guess, in that way, I did not truly learn to deal with drama, because I was never a part of it. I merely had to watch each episode like a sitcom. Now, thrown into the thick of feeling lost and isolated, I wonder whether drama is truly unavoidable. In high school, everyone is connected and when a problem arises, each person becomes entangled in one way or another. It is not possible to “keep your head down” or to “stay neutral” because people can be mean and after all, we’re all just kids.
This blog is all about opinions and advice. In most of my posts on Chocolate and Politics, I have a strong yet nuanced opinion to give, or maybe a life lesson based on personal views and experience. This time … I have neither. My message today rather, is that at times, it is okay to not give an opinion and to not know everything. A key flaw that I hope to never adopt is the attitude of self-righteousness. In situations where I feel uncomfortable or confused, I must remember that I do not know everything; no matter how mature or worldly I consider myself to be, I am still only 17. There is so much more to experience, to learn from others, and so many menial antics to rise above. As I mentioned in my previous post about drama, it is likely that none of these events (or even people) will matter in 5, 10, or 15 years. What will matter are the people who continue to stand beside you, keeping an open mind, and realizing that as high schoolers, we are far from the omniscient knowers we sometimes believe ourselves to be.
Make this summer about self-development. For some, this is going to mean spending time with friends every day. For others, it will be traveling and seeing family whom they have been separated from for the past few years. For me, it will be a combination, but it will be about me and growing past the confinements in which the high school environment can often keep us trapped in. I cannot wait to reconnect with friends from middle school, make the most of my time with those leaving soon for college, and step outside of my comfort zone to meet new people. This summer will be filled with journaling on the beach, movie nights with my family, fresh farmers’ market strawberries and pistachio gelato, experiencing new countries and cultures, and lots of summer hibernation. These next two months are not about people-pleasing. It is about doing what you want: the things that will make you happy and bring you back to life after a grueling school year.
I hope it is a great one.
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby