“It’ll Be the Best Four Years of Your Life”


Courtney Bawden

Senior Raven Abridello finishes her last year of high school.

Raven Abridello, Editor

They say that high school is supposed to be the best four years of your life. I was told this by family, friends, and every movie about high school. In middle school, I had a preconceived idea that my high school years would be the peak of my life, and I would love every single moment of it. I thought that my weekends would be full of parties, hanging out with friends, and beach days year round. In reality, my weekends were spent stressing over grades, pulling all-nighters to catch up in classes, and worrying that I wasn’t spending my adolescent years the way I should be.
My freshman year started during one of the lowest points of my life. I had been struggling with mental health issues since the spring prior, in addition to being indefinitely grounded from the start of the school year. For me, freshman year was a year of healing and trying to mend what was broken the previous year. This meant spending more time with family, reconnecting with old friends, letting go of toxic friendships, focusing on school, and most importantly, working towards improving my mental state to the point where I could stop going to therapy.
As cliche as it sounds, each year I learned a valuable lesson that I wished I would have known from the start. Freshman year, I learned that you are your one and only advocate. I learned that communicating your needs is the only way you’re going to get help.
Sophomore year started exponentially better than freshman year did. My middle school vision of what high school would be like started to take shape, with going to football games on Friday nights and having sleepovers with friends most weekends. For the most part, tenth grade was uneventful, and life was calm. I had a routine and it was easy to get lost in the peaceful sameness of each day. This routine was disrupted by my dog’s death, family emergencies, and major drama with one of my best friends, all at the same time.
Sophomore year, I learned to stop caring. I stopped caring about what other people thought of me, stopped caring about what everyone else was doing, and stopped caring if my high school experience was going the way I was told it should be.
Junior year was the hardest year for me, academically as well as mentally. Within the first month of school, my GPA had already dropped by several points. Within the first two months, one of my friends had almost died, and another friend had died. Drama with the same friend from the previous year had worsened; my grades dropped, and my mental health was on the decline.
I feel like I learned a lot junior year, but the main takeaway from last year is to appreciate your friends. Tell your friends that you love them, and make time to spend quality time with them. This same lesson applies to family, teachers, youth leaders, and everyone else. Loss surrounded my junior year, but through this, I learned the importance of expressing appreciation and love for those around you.
Senior year has been the most eventful year for me. The year started with my parents and I searching for a new house in the Northern Cascades. Our weekends consisted of house hunting, renovating our house at the time, and meeting with realtors. The start of this year was overwhelming and constantly stressful, but once I moved away from my life in Shoreline, it quickly became dull.
My classes were easy compared to those at my old school, and I quickly became bored with school. In Shoreline, there was a higher academic rigor, and I felt like I was actually being productive by going to school. I was really involved at my old school, and I always had something to do when I wasn’t at school. Upon moving here, I decided I didn’t want to be as involved, simply because I only had seven months of school left, and didn’t see the point in getting involved with anything. I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have any friends here, and I was bored out of my mind with school. When spring came, things started to fall back into place. I started making friends, I got a job, lined up my summer job as a camp counselor, and went back to Shoreline to see my best friend for the first time in five months.
As I write this now, prom is four days away, and graduation is ten days away. I’m at the end of my high school experience, and I couldn’t be happier that it’s finally ending. High school went nothing like I imagined, and even though it was nowhere near the best four years of my life, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I learned so much, met my best friends, and grew so much as a person. Once I came to terms with the idea that high school wasn’t going to be the best four years of my life and that life would be so much better after I graduate, school became easier and more peaceful. Even if things happened outside of my control, this realization made life easier, and I would encourage everyone to stop putting so much pressure on these years. We’re this young for only so long, and it’s easier to enjoy this time without unnecessary pressure and stress of wondering if we’re spending this time the way we’re told we should.