by Riley Sandoval
Going into high school as a freshman, I had high hopes and expectations for what my next four years would be like. I wanted those movie and TV show experiences that show teens having fun all the time. Little did I know that my main obstacle keeping me from those experiences would be myself.
As a freshman and even into sophomore year, I was always so hyper-fixated on what others would think of me. I’d try to wear clothes that everyone else was wearing, to blend in and avoid anyone from thinking, “Wow that’s a weird outfit,” or something similar. Not once did anyone say anything at all negative about me, but it was still a huge fear of mine. It also made me hesitant to do things I enjoyed, like doing my makeup in a way that actually looked like I was wearing makeup. That fear of what others would think really held me back.
It took a global pandemic and way too much time with myself to finally get a wake up call. I’m trying not to sound cliche, but quarantine truly was a time where I could work on myself and actually break out of my shell. Not being able to go out made me realize not only how harmful my expectations for myself were, but also how much I still wanted to have an enjoyable high school experience. The time I had in high school so far had been more or less wasted by my own hesitancy.
This time away from everyone also brought me closer to two people who really couldn’t care less about what others thought about them. When I would say how I wanted to do something but felt uncomfortable, they’d ask me why I was scared and encourage me to just do it anyway. They helped me to learn that I should only live for myself. What I do shouldn’t be based on my own fears of what others might be thinking about me.
With that finally down in my head, the real fun began. All of the late night drives, stargazing in random fields, too many trips to Akira Ramen, the movies, countless sleepovers, hangouts, and especially the people I did all of these things with, have all made senior year the best year of high school. As I’m looking back on these four years, my only regret was waiting until senior year to just let go.