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Journal Writing Project-Jamie Howe


Fri, Oct 25th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

When you open those glorious high school doors for the first time as a freshman, you feel it. You feel the power, the responsibility, the status, the freedom, and you feel the real life as a teenager. Or should I say, the artificial life you lead for the next four years.I recall the times when I was a freshman and I tried to fit in and be normal and wear the right clothes and talk to the right people. I remember as a sophomore and even as a junior trying to be the “best” the “coolest.” Yet who really says you’re the “coolest” or you’re the “most popular?” And when we graduate, is being the coolest or the most popular in your grade going to get you a full ride to the University of Minnesota, or Florida State? Is it going to get you a job at the Mayo Clinic or the St. Paul Police Department? Is being the most popular king or queen of the school or person who wears expensive clothes and only talks to certain people going to pay for college? Character, will, respect, responsibility, knowledge, personality, and generosity will get you farther in high school, college, and life than being the most popular or the coolest in high school ever will. This is why high school is an artificial life.From the time we are freshmen to the day we graduate, teenagers believe that their social life is the most important or will have the most impact on their life after high school. However, it is their academics that have a better influence in the long run. If you had a 4.0 GPA and had four friends in high school, you will probably be successful in life! And if you were the most popular in high school but ended up with a 2.0 GPA, you probably will not succeed much in life. Teenagers do not see the big picture until their senior year rolls around, then some students realize there is so much more out there in life. And there are some seniors that don’t realize this until college and then they are lost because they have no one else to try to imitate and they don’t even know who they are. So during their eighteenth or nineteenth year in life as a person, they are finally trying to figure out who they really are without someone to follow or be like.Our choir teacher told us “High School is an artificial life! Don’t fall into the traps of being an immature teenager.” I am very pleased she told us this or else a few of us would have never been ready for the real world and the real life as an adult. An old saying by Mark Twain fits this proposition very well- “Life would be infinitely easier if only we could be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.”As a high school senior, now I look back and realize what mistakes I made in trying to be the coolest and the most popular in my grade. I know being the homecoming queen or the star basketball player or the most popular in my grade doesn't matter when I receive my diploma. When I switch my tassel over, the only thing that really matters is what I did with my time in high school, how I studied for good grades, how I portrayed my personality, and how I respected others and their style and personality.High School is an artificial life and not many teenagers realize this in their ninth through twelfth grade career. Yet, when these teenagers do realize that this is an artificial life I hope they look back and realize the mistakes they made and the people they hurt along the way. I hope they feel sorry for all the immature things they did and tell thier children that high school is an artificial life and nothing like popularity will matter when you receive your diploma.Jamie Howe is a student at Fillmore Central High School.The Journal Writing Project focuses on the writing of area young people.

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