There are 720 days of high school and college comes along just to end it

Illustration by Jiha Kim.

Illustration by Jiha Kim.

Connor Fondrevay-Bedell, asst. news editor

On the first day of my freshmen year, my expectations for high school had been crafted by stories from my older sister, John Hughes’s movies, and bad television shows.  I thought that high school would be a long four years that I wanted to get through quickly.

I thought it was cheesy to show your “Titan Pride” and attend every football game, dress up for spirit days, and go to school dances. It felt like I already spent enough time at school for classes that dragged on forever. Why would I want to stay here past 3:15 every day?

As cliché as it sounds, you really don’t know what you have until it’s gone, and the pandemic starting halfway through my sophomore year changed my perspective. Seeing how crushed seniors were about the prom they would never have, their anticipated graduation gone, and the goodbyes they would never get to say, I abandoned my old opinions.

I had spent my first two years of high school wanting time to go by faster and didn’t realize what I was losing out on with that mentality.

At this point, it feels boring and overdone to talk about “What Covid took from us” and instead, I choose to share what it gave me: a newfound appreciation for my fleeting time at South.

Seeing the possibility of losing out on my remaining years of high school, I wanted to remain in the moment and not wish away my last few years before college. I was surrounded by opportunities that I would be mistaken to turn away from: people I hadn’t met and activities I hadn’t participated in yet. At the start of my junior year, I joined a new club, and when we returned for in-person learning I actually managed to sit through multiple lacrosse and baseball games, cheering my school on.

As I began to check off my list of lasts—my last first day of school, my last Chicago winter, my last Variety show—I felt the melancholy of finality approaching. After starting high school so cynically, I realized I would be sad to leave it.

These four years are a collection of moments that will never repeat, and I’m glad I came to appreciate that before it was too late.

It took a pandemic and the abrupt possibility of losing the rest of high school to get rid of the scorn I held for those who called high school “the best years of my life.” While I still strive to avoid that mentality, I have come to appreciate what drives it.

There is so much more to high school than your four blocks a day and the people you see. It is a rare moment in time that you’ll never get to experience again, so learn to love being a Titan.