Culture Shock

Clay Stone, Managing Editor

I am about to complete my first year of high school. I’ve been homeschooled for six years and spent three years in a private school. If anyone has been sheltered from most of the world, it’s me. One of the most common fears coming into high school is that you won’t fit in and that high school is an extremely depressing place where you can’t be accepted for who you are, so you have to change to fit in. Is it true?

 

First year in a public school, you’d think I’d get walked all over, right? No, I did perfectly fine.”

 

You need to find a group of friends who can support what you care about, and then you have to stick to the opinions of people who really matter to you. I was flipped off at least two times today and who knows how many cruel words were exchanged behind my back? If I decided that I was going to take every insult to heart, then I wouldn’t have made it past the first term. A famous quote from Andrew Smith says, “People fear what they don’t understand and hate what they can’t conquer.” You can’t let the people who don’t live like you tell you how to live. You’re much more valuable than that.

Junior Panupon Dishman said that he only had 50 people in his school, Platte Valley Christian Academy, from kindergarten through eighth grade. “At first, it was hard to meet new people because I didn’t really know anyone who went to school here,” Dishman said. But over time, Dishman began to adjust, “People just came up and talked to me, and I talked to them, and we became good friends.” Dishman said that a lot of his friends were runners just like him, but he also made friends with people who were simply friendly to him. He didn’t have to change who he was to make friends. He’s not depressed. And he has a lot of good friends who actually care about him.

Freshman Leah Hengen went to Our Redeemer Lutheran School from preschool until eighth grade, but it wasn’t hard for her to transition to NPHS.” I don’t have trouble making friends. Sometimes when my friends talk about someone who they know, I’m like, ‘I’m not sure who that is.’ People have made friendships and almost everyone knows everyone. But I have made a lot of friends.”

Freshman Caleb Tegtmeier got his first impression of high school in the second semester of this year. Tegtmeier faced academic problems. One thing that Tegtmeier said is that it was harder to learn when there isn’t one-on-one teaching, “One teacher teaches 24 to 40 kids, and I’m not able to get the same level of learning. I wish that I could have known what the workload was like, because in homeschool, I could work at whatever pace I needed to, but in high school, they just thrust it on you and say ‘Here get this done, and if you don’t, you can take it home and spend all night working on it.’”

But just like me and dozens of other people in this school, Tegtmeier has been called names that he wouldn’t even repeat, “I have had to take a few insults, but most people are really great, and a lot of insults are just jokes. You can’t take offense at really anything, you have to let it slide off your back because there is a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it.”

So, were my beliefs coming into high school wrong? Definitely. Sure, I still have to listen to people insult me, but I’m still the same person that I was when I came into high school at the start of this year, and I fit in exactly where I want to be. There aren’t only mean people at NPHS. In fact, there are a lot of quality people. You just have to find the friends who are really going to build you up, defy stereotypes, and say it’s not cool to drive other people into the ground with insults. You have to decide that the people who think it is cool to be a jerk aren’t worth taking seriously, because hello? They aren’t. I’m not saying that high school is easy; it isn’t. People insult you, cuss at you, and flip you off every day. If you truly decide not to let these insults dictate who you really are, you will be a lot better off when you come to NPHS.