When we look back on our high school careers, we can all agree that it was an experience; some loved it and others hated it but like everything, it had good and bad parts. Most people have their “firsts:” their first loves, their first F on a test, their first football game…
Today the Ithaca community will discuss all those aspects of high school. Is it hated or truly romanticized?
When high school was brought up to those interviewed, mixed feelings were shown. Some grimaced and some walked us through memory lane.
Elias Anthony, a college student at Ithaca, walked us through missing the “idea” of high school. They said, “I miss the person I was, although I don’t miss the people, I don’t miss the judgment, I don’t miss the place.”
This concept brings to us how naïve we all were back then. Other people mentioned the fact that in high school friends were everywhere, and some people sadly did not remain in contact with them. Alan, a 60-year-old former student of Ithaca High School mentions missing the extra-curricular activities that high school brought: “I miss the music and the marching band, I miss my friends and I miss playing with them at football games.” In said activities, people met and found each other, some found their long-life passion, and some others did it for fun, not to mention, those who would also do it to “look good” for colleges. The extra-curricular activities brought a lot into play in high school; they made you a part of something and made you find your group of people.
Although friends were a big part of high school, not everyone had luck finding friends. “There were cliques, and I felt so disconnected, partially because I moved high schools twice,” said a 61-year-old citizen. She continues to talk about her disconnect and the difficulties of being a new student. “I don’t think of high school as happy times.”
This Ithaca resident was not the only one describing high school as “not happy times.” Ashley, a 43-year-old Ithacan, mentioned regret. He regretted making fun of people, and not being the best person at that time. Some others mentioned regretting not being involved in sports enough, some regret not focusing on their studies enough. Most in fact described themselves as “foolish” and followed it up with “not knowing better.”
In the midst of regret, there is love. 19-year-old Elias talked about being enchanted with their first love. They said, “We would ditch class together and go to the abandoned bathrooms in the theater wing that no one went to, and we would sit and talk.” They added, “It was so good, it was so carefree, but only because neither of us had faced the bad outcomes of high school yet.” Alan talked about his first crush, he described her as beautiful, but sadly he was too shy and never had the guts to ask her out. Some people did not experience teenage love. Some explained that their high school relationships were and felt like an illusion.
Even though some hated their experience, others loved it and some others said “eh,” everyone who was interviewed said they all miss it.
They all agree with missing the place that made you wake up at 6 a.m. and take the bus or sometimes walk in the freezing cold just to sit for hours. They all miss their friends and going to the lunch table and talking about their day.
The second point that all participants of the interviewed agreed with was that their high school selves would be proud of them now. The most remarkable answer was from the anonymous Ithaca citizen: “At first, I was going to say no. She was confused back then, and I still am. But now I have four kids who are old, they are good people and I know I did that. She would be so proud of herself to know that although she lived a complicated life, it was worth it.”
It can be concluded that high school is romanticized by movies and some people. Not everyone who likes movies finds their first love or gets the leading role in a school play. Not to mention going to prom. Even though it still brings us down memory lane and some smiles come out when thinking about it. It can be best compared to an illusion, where on the outside things were fine, you did not really know what was coming your way and you were able to bathe in that idea. You could fully appreciate being naïve and although you learned, ultimately it was a security blanket. It can bring a smile to your face when you think about it: it’s the power of nostalgia.
Ricky Blanco is a first-year journalism major who knows the magic and danger of illusions. They can be reached at [email protected]