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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Every day: My golden years

Here’s to my present, past, and future. Here’s to my hope for my golden years.

My first glimpse of this high school was through the backdoor window of my family’s SUV. I was smaller and younger, with arms wrapped tightly around my fifth-grade backpack. I watched my two older brothers enter the building, and the entrance faded as we drove away.

At the time, high school seemed like a myth. An improbable fairytale. Something so far out of my reality that it felt like it would only ever exist in my imagination. 

Unlike other children, I was never destined for a specific school system. Traveling in a linear line from the same elementary, middle, and high school wasn’t in my books. I never knew where I would end up. Friends I made one year may disappear the next.

It has never made me feel alone, but it did separate me further and further from what other kids considered a typical schooling experience. 

So, when I first came to Forest Hills, I had a severely different experience than other students. For example, my first step into these halls didn’t start with officially enrolling. Instead, I did a shadow day alongside a upperclassman in the month leading up to my middle school graduation.

It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that it was an awkward affair. During the day, people would stare in confusion at me, asking my upperclassmen—teachers and students—why I was there.

In the wake of COVID, my freshman year proved unforgettable in some of the most dynamic ways. Similar to others, I spent the first half in quarantine. However, in the second half of my freshman year, I entered these halls for the first time as a student. Not full-time, but fifty-fifty. 

I was excited and enthralled. After all, this was the start of my high school career, and my expectations were high.

Ultimately, the remaining part of the year was fortunate—in good and bad ways. I met some of my best friends freshman year, people whom I still love dearly to this day. But, I also gave up my hobbies like volleyball and the flute—which I deeply regret. 

My sophomore and junior years were mixed results. I joined TCT, lost friends, made new ones, experienced social drama, and got accepted into honors. I made myself proud and depressed.

Then, senior year happened. In a year when so many students seemed to hit all-time highs, I felt like I was hitting an all-time low. My motivation dropped, and my apathy grew. I fought with my parents and sabotaged myself.

I went through, and still am, the mental constraints I put myself in to conform to a society I was desperate to fit into. And when I couldn’t face my failures, intentional or not, I ran. I avoided them.

It felt like I was drowning in a never-ending sea of self-induced stress and abuse, where I couldn’t do a single thing right, and I caused those around me to suffer as a result. 

People told me high school was supposed to be the best time of my life—my golden years. Yet, all I could see was a waste of myself, my life, and my work.

People told me high school was supposed to be the best time of my life—my golden years. Yet, all I could see was a waste of myself, my life, and my work.

And in my pit of self-produced despair and destress, I accepted that as my truth. I gave up. 

However, there was something that did change my outlook towards the end of the year. Something my father had told me late one night while I was discussing the idea of ‘golden years.’ He commented on how sad it was when people said high school or college was their golden years. I remember asking him why that was sad. 

In my mind, it was the truth. Everyone said high school was the best when you were at your peak. If you weren’t at your best, then tough luck to you.

He told me that deciding which years were your best before you lived through all of them was like picking your favorite ice cream before tasting the rest. How can you expect to live your life to the fullest if you never expect the coming memories to surpass their predecessors?

It’s still difficult to accept the end of my high school career because I would have done many things differently if I had my way. But that doesn’t mean they were worthless. They have meaning, and they’ve taught me valuable lessons. While my life may be abysmal, that doesn’t mean the following years have to accept the same fate.

High school wasn’t the golden years of my life, and I can’t say for sure that I’ll be able to look back at them and appreciate what I was given, especially not now. But they did gift me strength—the strength to believe I could do better in my next step in life.

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About the Contributor
Ava Tilley
Ava Tilley, Staff Writer
Ava is a senior entering her second year writing for the Central Trend. She strives to be a passionate writer, hopelessly curious about all topics, and this year her goal is to improve the quality of her writing to be more engaging and fulfilling to the audience and her readers. Favorite Snack: Frozen raspberries, surprisingly delicious. Favorite Time to Write: Early morning, around 7-9 am Favorite Pet: I have no favorite, I love all my children equally!...(my cat)

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