Wordy Wednesday (“The Truth About High School”)

Gosh, so much has happened since last week! For the sake of brevity though, I’m going to try to keep this short, so…

  • My Blogiversary Giveaway ended New Year’s Eve and I’ve contacted the winners, so congratulations to the three of you, and your books should be in your hands shortly! 🙂 To everyone else who entered, thanks so much, and I’m sorry you didn’t win–if I could send prizes to all of you, I would! It meant a lot to me that you entered the raffle.
  • I found out that Lauren Oliver’s hosting a really-super-awesome contest over on Figment that I am EXTREMELY excited about, and I think you should enter, just because it is too really-super-awesome not to (and then if you win, you should totally thank me for telling you about it): http://dailyfig.figment.com/2013/01/07/the-requiem-writing-contest/
  • I ALSO found out that I’m going to be going to an Ally Carter book signing next month, and besides the fact that I’m just about dying from excitement over it, I wanted to ask: Would you be interested in winning a signed copy of one of her books? Do you want me to pick up an extra at the signing, if possible, to giveaway on the blog?
  • I FINISHED WRITING CADENCE!!!!! After two months and 20,000 words more than I’d been planning on spending on the first draft, I finally managed to get to the end yesterday afternoon, and I am exceedingly happy with how it turned out (despite the 20,000 extra words).
  • I moved back to college yesterday evening, which means that I’m now back sitting in the cozy little cave under my bed (my lofted bed, that is), and it’s 78 degrees in my room despite the fact that it’s 22 outside and we have the windows open and our fans on, and I don’t even care, because I am just so happy to be back here at the moment. (Although, let’s be honest, I barely managed to get out the door without stuffing Sammy in my duffel bag last night.)
  • And, last but not least, I just got back from my first college creative writing class (which was also my first class of the semester–fantastic way to start, right?), and let me just say: This semester is going to be interesting. The professor’s awesome, the other students seem really into it, and that actually scares me a little bit, just because I’ve never been in an environment like that before. Like, I have never sat in a room with a bunch of other people the same age as me who are all into creative writing as much as I am. I’m one part scared, and one part excited, and overall just very, very nervous about it all, but hey: At least it’s guaranteed to be an adventure, right?

Now, moving on from that not-nearly-as-short-as-I-meant-it-to-be recap of the past week…

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a personal essay I wrote as a part of the Senior Sunday sermon at my church this past summer, in honor of all of us graduating from high school. It’s pretty Christian-y, obviously, since I wrote it for church, so if you don’t want to read something like that, I apologize. But I am Christian, so something God-related was bound to pop on here eventually. 😉

So, I mean… I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry? Something like that.


            “If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?”

An issue a lot of us struggle with in high school is identity. Who should we be friends with? Who should we sit with at lunch? What classes should we take, and what extra-curriculars should we do?

This all seemed big and real and scary when I was there, but looking back, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. Because the fact of the matter about high school is, well, first of all: It’s just four years of your life, and those four years go by really, really fast, so why spend so much time being nervous and afraid when it’s going to be over so quickly? And second of all: While you’re all caught up feeling uncomfortable and shy and like nobody likes you? Well, everybody else is feeling the same way too.

So why does it take four years to figure that out? Why am I just now saying it? – You know, now that I’ve graduated? And the fact of that matter is: When you’re there, it’s like seeing the forest through the trees – or any number of other similes or metaphors that they teach you in English class. When you’re in high school, you’re extremely likely to look at everybody else through rose tinted glasses, and then look at yourself without any glasses on at all. It’s hard to really see something when you’re staring it in the face; easier to look back on it, and understand what was happening, now that it’s over.

And just like how, “‘[t]he eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you,’” you are always important, even when you don’t feel like it.

High school is about finding yourself. Experimenting, trying new things, and meeting new people. Chances are, a lot of the stuff you try isn’t going to work out, but that’s okay because a few of the things will. That’s high school – and beyond that, that’s life. Because high school, ultimately, is your training ground for the rest of your life.

Yes, you learn all about factoring, and the Civil War, and the differences between protons and electrons and neutrons. But you also learn about the type of person you’re going to be when you leave high school. You learn that it’s okay to talk to someone who might be more “popular” or “smarter” than you, and that no matter what you’re into – should it be theatre, or robotics, or sports, or art, or anything else – there’s likely to be a group of other students, just like you, just waiting to be your friends. I mean, my school even has a table tennis club, of all things.

So, how does all of this affect us as graduating seniors? Now that we’ve learned all of these lessons? Well, just like it’s our job to remember that Holden Caulfield is the main character of Catcher in the Rye, which takes place in New York City, and yada yada yada… It’s also our job to remember all the things that we learned outside of the classroom during high school. Like how to be selfless, by volunteering. Like how to understand that sometimes what you want to do isn’t what others need you to do, by understanding when you don’t get a role in the spring musical.

High school is about disappointments. It’s about not making your goals, feeling left out, and feeling worthless. Because without those things, how would we ever grow as people? How would we ever grow in our faith in God, unless we let Him challenge us every once in a while?

High school is about honesty. It’s about learning who you are, and learning who you aren’t. It’s about crying when you lose, and then crying when you win, too.  It’s about taking risks, doing the thing that scares you, no matter how small that is – whether it be sitting with some people who you don’t know very well at lunch, or flying halfway across the country to follow one of your dreams.

And no matter what it might be for you, and what it might be for me, all of us who have gone through high school, or are going through high school, or will go through high school sometime in the future, have one thing in common: While going through high school, we have the opportunity to come here. To church. Where you’re appreciated and loved, no matter where you are in life. No matter what your grades are or if you’re fighting with your friends.

God appreciates each and every one of us. It makes no difference whether you’re the star football player or “just another stagehand” in the school play – See what I did there, hands and feet?

“If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.”

We’re all important, no matter what.

An issue a lot of us struggle with in high school is identity. Isn’t it nice to know, in the end, that everything turns out fine? Because God loves us no matter whom we are?

That’s what I learned in high school, and what I’m going to take now, as a high school graduate, out into the world.