High school conflicts may be more valuable than academics

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If I knew then what I know now, I would have prepared better for the unrelenting conflicts that came in high school.

From freshman to junior year, I encountered setbacks that opened my eyes to the reality of high school which altered my social and emotional perspectives.

As a freshman, I was in a daze. The academics were hard and classes were long. Here I only saw girls. It took a while to adjust to an all-girls’ school, but I gradually learned to appreciate it. I thought the support from my parents and friends was enough, that my first year would be easier than what I had been told. I was wrong.

I found myself caught in between friends: one friend was forgetting about me and the other disliking my attempts to make new friends. I wasn’t prepared for what I had to go through. I couldn’t distinguish who my true friends were, even the ones I thought would always be with me. I continuously asked myself: Why can’t I be happy too?

It took a while before I fully understood the reasons behind the problems. It wasn’t because my friends and I were insecure nor was it that we expected too much. It was the fact that we were growing apart, testing our wings for flight as we found ourselves in the sea of sailor uniforms.
As a result, I learned that friendships, no matter the strength of the bond, cannot always outlast change.

By the next school year, I was ready for the unknown as a sophomore. I knew it was time for me to move on and meet new people. I found several girls who shared similar personalities and attitudes with me and we slowly became close friends.

Though I was not completely happy due to the breach with my old friends, I accepted what had happened and resolved to apply the experience to future relationships.

When I spoke to my counselor about what had happened, she helped my friend and me. Though I feared what my friend would say about me, I knew that it was better to solve the problem than avoid it.

We spoke in our counselor’s room and shared our views of the problem. It was challenging to suppress the hurt and anger because I didn’t want my old friend to see how it affected me.

Nonetheless, I learned that the extent of the problem could’ve been avoided had I expressed my conflicting feelings to my friend.

I had not expected to encounter these struggles nor was I ready for them. I never anticipated the amount of hurt, confusion and frustration. Though it changed my perspective of friendship and trust, the discussion gave me closure and understanding.

By junior year, my relationship with my friends strengthened. We rarely argued and spent almost every moment together; we were inseparable. Despite everything that had happened, I was truly happy.

Second semester was just starting its third academic cycle. We were as carefree as ever. Then, an unexpected twist led us to separate once again. This time, however, the problem was caused by ignorance and lack of good judgment.

We did not speak for weeks nor make any effort to solve what had come up. I did not want to approach them until I learned about conflict resolution during an after-school session. The strategies I learned pushed me to fix what had been broken.

When we spoke, it was in a place that was private. When we were done, we accepted what had been said and put the problem behind us.

Though we became friends again, our friends were still divided. Another problem had revealed itself while we were still upset with each other.

This problem created a rift between one person and me in the friend group. Things were said and judgment and condemnation were thrown back and forth.

Now it has gotten to a point where I cannot be with my other friends. I can’t hang out with them as much as I want to. It is not because I refuse to speak with her nor is it because I despise her.

We simply cannot overcome our pride.

A lot has happened in the past two and a half years. Not only did I learn about myself, but the people I thought I knew. In freshman year, I was thrown into situations that I never thought I’d be in or thought I was going to get through. Luckily, I did.

Sophomore year let me evaluate what had happened and how it had affected my emotions before entering the academic strains of junior year.

I am grateful for what I went through with my friends because I learned the reality of high school and what it can bring out in people. Not everyone is going to like you nor will they embrace your imperfections.  

It doesn’t matter how many obstacles I’ll stumble upon because life is filled with them.

All that matters is how I handle them.