He Said… – Rouse Barker

Ah, school, heaven, hell, whatever you choose to call it. The daily in and out pressed upon the American teenager five days a week, seven and a half hours at a time. For some, it is the highlight of each and every moment of their lives, reveling in the glory of sports, clubs, and sitting around in the lobby as they wait for tardy parents. However, for others just like me, this legal requirement is a massive pain in the — well, you get the point.
To be fair, Fairfax does provide a plethora of activities for its students to partake in. There are electives with fun and interesting topics like current events and human genetics. There are musical classes up the wazoo like orchestra, band, choir, and our more song than act theater classes. There are art classes for each and every level of artist from Reddit memers to Twitter watercolor users. There are even sports electives for those of you student athletes who are forever on that sick grind. There are clubs for students of all kinds from the Vietnamese Student Association to the Gay Student Association to even the most demanding of clubs like Science Olympiad. With all these diverse options, it’s easy to find something to rally behind. And what happens when you finally find your people? Well, you increase your school spirit! That little voice in the back of your head that rations, “Hey, maybe four years in this subpar institution isn’t so bad!”
If this sounds like you, congratulations.
You’ve found the silver lining! The gold in the glitter for all you Smash Mouth fans out there.
Unfortunately for me, the grass really is greener on the other side.
The other side, you ask?
College. University. The beginning of the rest of your life.
To some of us, high school is nothing but that last stepping stone in the path to sweet, sweet independence. High school is that rebound after your first broken heart, the coworker at Freddy’s you screw over to get that pay raise, the yellow Starbursts you leave in the bag for your little brother while stealing away all the pinks.
If high school is Walmart brand when college is Gucci, why bother hyping it up? Why bother putting all this extra time and effort into the four most forgettable years of your life?
The answer is don’t. There’s no need to! Seriously! I’m here to tell you that it’s perfectly alright to skip that sweaty, packed HOCO dance and say hasta la vista to those cold, rainy nights on the football field in favor of a comfortable night-in binging “Santa Clarita Diet”. No one will second guess it, and someone will always be there to fill your spot. You win, the school recruits some poor schmoe to fill the void you once inhabited, and the universe spins on!
Need more convincing?
Let’s recall what high school does for us.
A sleep schedule as stable as francium, those unshakeable jitters after your fifth coffee by ten o’clock, that lukewarm nacho dish with cheese the color of Pac-Man, those unforgiving deadlines that leave your heart pounding in your chest in the middle of the night with your alarm clock searing holes into your eyes as the shadows creep closer and closer and clo-
You’ve read “The Raven”, you know how this ends.
While you put more of that precious time of yours into the system, the system returns nothing but stress and anxiety. Even the most diehard romantics can recognize this as an abusive cycle of all give and no get.
The best part?
You can break this cycle. You can fly again. You can find a non-profit to volunteer with on the weekends or a community sports team that will fulfill your need for appreciation and glory. High school is not your only option and it most certainly is not the best. You deserve better and better is out there, kiddo.
For those of you freshman out there reading this, fear not! If there’s one good thing about being in high school, it’s that time flies by like no one’s business.
To the sophomores? LOL, good luck.
Juniors? Stay on that AP grind, baby! You got this!
Last but not least, seniors. It’s been a wild couple of years, huh? No worries, we’re almost done! Almost at that point where the forces that be push us into an even more stressful educational environment but, hey, we can get Starbucks whenever we want!