Supposedly The Best Years

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Britney Chen, Online Editor

High school is supposed to be the “best years of your life”, but with so much more to discover and learn past high school, that just isn’t true.

In movies and television, the football stars and popular girls with tons of friends talk about how amazing high school is and how life will never be this great after graduation often enough that the general public has absorbed this sentiment. Graduation card companies use the phrase “high school is the best years of your life” to sell more products and wistful adults use it to reminisce about the good old days.

A lot of this feeling is based on nostalgia. While nostalgia is a positive feeling, it is not known for being factual. According to Psychology Today, “the “purpose” of nostalgia is pleasure rather than accuracy.” Our brains are notoriously bad at remembering events in our life and will reconstruct them each time we retrieve them. So, when people consider high school the best years of their life, they are only remembering the parts they want. While dances, sports games, and extracurriculars get the spotlight in their memory, the late nights studying, exams, and subpar lunch food conveniently disappear. There is nothing wrong with this, but just because we don’t remember the boring or mundane parts of high school, that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. If we base our best years on our experiences, then high school is lacking. While high school has activities like prom and football games, after graduation, you can still go dancing or watch football, but you can also travel the world, live where you want, and really explore the hobbies you couldn’t in high school. You have more freedom and resources to do what you want. High school can be fun, but there are just as many, if not more, opportunities to experience life when you’re older. People go to college, join the peace corps or the army, and start their careers after high school, and these this things are what give you life experience.

It’s after high school that you really get to figure out who you are as a person. High school is very structured and you get used to the routine and people reminding you to stick to it. People get comfortable with the safety net high school provides since you can make mistakes without heavy consequences. However, being comfortable can make people stagnant and we stop trying to change and be better. According to an article in NPR, our brains are not fully developed until we’re twenty-five. Until then, we tend to make risky or irrational choices based on our emotions. We still have a ways to go until we fully mature, and even past twenty-five, we will still make mistakes. Growing up is about becoming better than when we were younger, and leaving high school helps us see what’s really important and what was just high school drama.

“High school is the best years of your life” is a cliche, peppy phrase but the underlying meaning is that if high school is the best years of your life, then your life after will never compare. When the life expectancy in the U.S. is 78 years old, it’s not logical to think you peaked the first eighteen years of your life. With so much left to see and do, make sure high school is not the best years of your life.