High School: A Four-year Quest


Elizabeth Hsieh, Editor-in-chief

  Let me tell you about my friend Marcy.

  Marcy is a real veteran. By her senior year, she’s mastered 8 AP classes, gotten exceptional SAT and ACT scores, and played for the varsity basketball team. Did I mention the part where she did all this while simultaneously holding a job at Shoe Carnival? Well, she did.

  Heading into senior year, she was hard-working, creative, organized, and just about the golden standard for most high school students. To the rest of the world, she was on a one-way track to future success, but for Marcy, she was hurtling towards graduation with a deep-rooted feeling of dissatisfaction.

   Her grades began to fall lower than ever, and her motivation plummeted. She loved basketball but took time off in order to study. This was the last mile, and Marcy should have already passed the worst. She just needed to get back into the swing of things. Except that didn’t feel quite right either.

   Although Marcy isn’t a real person, she’s based off the collective experience of many high school students. What she felt in her senior year of high school is the aftermath of the self-fulfilling prophecy many students become locked into.

  To become the all-inclusive student, kids embark on a four-year academic pilgrimage. On this journey, they will face many demons and dragons, ranging from junior year Physics to the unconquerable SAT. The holy grail at the end of the journey is typically college. Many students yearn to open an email and read that first word, “Congratulations!” Although most of high school is spent in pre-college anticipation, there is considerably little talk about what happens after that.

   The pressure often leads students to believe that high school is the defining moment in their lives. Amidst all the testing, extracurriculars, and rank, we are prone to forget why we are doing this. Like Marcy, we may follow all the right steps but ultimately lose sight of the bigger picture. Part of the reason why high schoolers struggle so much is that the pressure and feelings are so real but the reason for enduring them has become shrouded.

  What students don’t realize is that high school is a quest. It is one finite search, mission, and adventure in a lifelong pursuit of self-knowledge. It is a time to try new things and make mistakes. Marcy’s dissatisfaction in her senior year is the yearning to break free of the academic shell and take charge again. One of the most significant parts of high school is realizing that we write our own stories. In the high school scene, this idea can be scary, but in real life, it is empowering.