Cramming for exams, crowded hallways, lunchroom crushes, and football games. The high school experience is something that a lot of people look back on as a time in their life that shaped them into the people they were destined to become. The high school experience is also often something that Running Start students are told they will miss out on.
When I was in 6th grade, I knew I was going to go into Running Start. I didn’t care what that meant for my friendships, my stress levels, or the essential experiences that everybody said I would miss; I knew Running Start was the only way my family could afford for me to get a college education, and if that meant I had to adapt and make new friends or miss out on parties, so be it.
Now that I have 48 College credits under my belt, I’m realizing that I forced myself to have the high school experience in a different way. I went to almost every football game (even though I don’t understand football), I am heavily involved in high school clubs, and most importantly I remained close to my friends. I was fortunate to have a lot of friends join me in Running Start, but I also regret not working to spend more time with my friends that stayed at the high school. It doesn’t seem like it should be hard to keep that connection, but friendships are hard to maintain when you have a completely different schedule than someone.
Staying involved at Rogers gave me access to so many people that I could rely on for help or information, and in a way it was how I kept from burning my bridges.
If somebody watched a movie about my high school experience then they would see scenes of us blasting Lady Gaga in my friend’s mini van on midnight drives home from the park, volunteering for Fred Oldfield, building blanket forts just to spend the whole day watching ’80s romcoms and playing Jurassic Park in the movie theater arcade (and a lot of memes) because those are the memories from the past year that will stick with me, and ultimately shape who I am.
The reality is that every high school experience is different, but it’s not about what you’re doing, or where you choose to take classes, it’s about who you choose to make memories with. Your high school years shape who you are because of the people you surround yourself with and experiences that you share together.