High School Never Ends? The Pomp and Circumstance of Yesteryear

Flash back to the spring of my senior year of high school. As the last days of the year came to a close, all we could do was squirm in our seats, impatiently waiting for graduation and talking about college to pass the time between now and the end of one of the most important phases of our lives. With the changing of the season came a change in energy among the senior class, as a barrage of sweatshirts emblazoned with college colors meshed into a dizzying rainbow that disrupted the usual blue and gold motif of the school building. In retrospect, we were hormones and fear masquerading in college sweatshirts and graduation gowns—our big-man-on-campus attitude was just a childish demand to the adult world to acknowledge our presence.

Amid all the excitement, I found that I wasn’t as happy as everyone else. I would wear my Boston College sweatshirt as proudly as my closest high school friends would wear their own schools’, but their stark differences hinted at the elephant in the room that we never wanted to mention: we were all going to different colleges, and we were afraid for the future of our friendships.

We were a motley crew coming from different walks of life, yet destined to sit together in the same class and join the same clubs that would solidify our friendship throughout high school. Looking back, high school was merely a crossroads in our individual lives, and we were destined yet again to go our separate ways to become the scientist, the writer, the engineer, the teacher, and the chef. I certainly wasn’t going to stop my friends from following their dreams, as I trusted them to not stop me from pursuing mine.

We’d have reunions whenever our schedules would line up, all meeting at a friend’s house and always starting the conversation with the standard “How’s college?” We would reminisce over the “good old days” of high school like adults in a mid-life crisis, if that says anything about how much more we had yet to learn.

But as the conversations wore on, I found that we would struggle to talk about anything besides high school. Old inside jokes would come up but quickly lose their humor, and the names of classmates I struggled to remember would form strange consonants and vowels in my mouth. The memories of asphyxiating uniforms, morning announcement music videos, wood-paneled classrooms, influential teachers, and weekend retreats that had started to become blurry around the edges would come into focus for a fleeting moment, before receding back into memory. The mire of our past had become the only foundation that we could all stand on. If we didn’t pay attention to our surroundings, we would never have guessed that we were actually drowning.

When my friends said they wanted to see me and visit BC, I was thrilled at the prospect at introducing them to my second home. I just had to enjoy a meal with them at Eagle’s Deli in Cleveland Circle, laugh at our exhaustion climbing up the Million Dollar Stairs, and see their awestruck expressions standing in front of Fulton Hall and hearing the sound of the Gasson bells ringing in the middle of a quiet, snowy evening. A picture of my best friends superimposed on a #gassongram represents the two halves of my life, my past and my future, meeting in the present. I found it hard to reconcile the two in an image that almost seemed like it was Photoshopped. In the end, the Gothic spires towered over all of us.

After my high school graduation, I went through every social media account I had and cathartically purged myself of the company of other classmates I was confident I would never see again. Social media is currently the only tether I have to my high school friends, but with each new status update and picture on my news feed, the more I realize that we are all becoming different people, and I wonder if they feel the divergence as much as I do.

Do I miss my high school friends? I can’t give you a definitive answer. While I would like to say that high school was the last thing on my mind as I strolled up Linden Lane for the first time as a member of the BC Class of 2018, I knew that I wouldn’t have made it here if it weren’t for the support of my friends. If we are the product of our past experiences, then I hope that I was as formative a part of their lives as they were a part of mine. But as time goes on, new college friends will replace our old high school ones and the “good old days” will soon refer to these four years of maturation and true adulthood. I know we’re all happy with where we are now and with what we’re doing. I know we’ve met the right people who will challenge us to grow as individuals. I don’t know the next time I’ll see my high school friends again, but when I do, I know that a new elephant will be in the room: the gut-wrenching realization that one day, I won’t recognize their faces anymore.

Featured Image by Kelsey McGee / Heights Editor

Maddie Phelps

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