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Roving Teen Reporter
What High School Taught Me
Leah Gans | La Jolla Country Day Senior

Roving Teen Reporter Leah Gans. Photo Art Olson.
Click on photo to enlarge.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told that high school is not the real world, that none of it will matter in a few years and that my life doesn’t really start until I leave. While I can’t say whether that is true, I do know that everything I have felt and the memories I have made are real. I don’t know whether that makes this the “real” world or not, but the pain, joy, confusion and happiness are undeniable.

High school, just like life, has its highs and lows. I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself, a lot of time being too hard on myself, and a lot of time worrying. But I also spent a lot of time with beautiful and amazing people who made me feel warm inside and helped me to love myself and those around me. I learned to recognize the look in someone’s eyes when they light up with creativity, as well as the butterflies in my stomach that come from cheering in front of the entire school at a pep rally. I learned how important it is to speak your mind and share your feelings. I sat through lessons on Socrates and somehow took away more from his courage and sense of self than his philosophies. I learned how beautiful compassion can be, and how loyalty is rare, but precious. High school taught me that social dynamics and friend groups change, which is sometimes difficult but very natural, and which I’ve learned to deal with by doing my best to rekindle old friendships. I learned that I don’t have to know what I want to do with my life yet, but that it’s important to find something I love to do. I learned not to be too hard or put too much pressure on myself, but to make sure that my heart is in everything I do. I learned to step out of my comfort zone, to be nice to people, and, most importantly, to live in the moment. Life would have been so much easier if I had taken that advice earlier, instead of spending so much time worrying about what other people thought about me.

It is true what everyone told me but I never believed: High school really does go by in the blink of an eye. I hope I never forget what it feels like to be 17, and I hope I never forget any of my friends. Even if I do, I know I will always remember what I learned in high school, because those lessons have made me who I am. Thank you for letting me share some of them with you over the past two years.


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