by Justin Spaeth
High school for me was filled with some of the best memories in my life. I had made friendships with people that will surely last a lifetime.
During my first years of high school, it was truly a tough time for me. I felt like an outsider I still felt like I was misunderstood and I was working way too hard to fit in, even if it meant being or acting a way that wasn’t myself just to see how it would feel to be accepted.
I came to realize later on that the way I was acting was not the way to go about feeling accepted. That experience throughout high school taught me that the only way that I am truly going to feel accepted is if first I accepted and loved myself for who I was and not who I was pretending to be to fit into the “popular” crowd.
Once I figured that out and started accepting myself, my ability to make friends became so much easier, which helped me because for the longest time I thought the reason most people never took the time to talk to me or get to know me was due to my disability.
Crazily enough, that turned out to not be the case at all.
Going through high school, I gained an extreme level of confidence in my appearance and in myself, which I attribute to accepting myself for who I am.
The minute I started accepting myself, it felt like a weight was lifted and I was a completely different person. Yet, oddly enough, I was still the same. I was just trapped in this idea that no one could accept me for who I was — a truly negative way of thinking that I knew had to change if I wanted to make a change for the better in my life.
Now with that confidence and acceptance came some new opportunities I had never thought possible, I made so many friends and so many memories along the path of high school that are truly unforgettable.
Everything from sporting events, to parties, to just chilling with friends, when those memories come into my mind, I smile and laugh.
It was amazing to experience everything I did in high school, and I feel like I touched the lives of many and made an impact on the school and beyond.
But as my time in high school came to an end and it was time to focus my energy on college, it was and still is bittersweet.
Sweet because I have a new sense of freedom and responsibility and I’m growing up, but bitter because I don’t see all of my friends that I used to talk to and hang out with on a daily basis.
But I know they are all out there doing something whether it be going to college, in the armed services, in the work force. I know that they are all making a difference in their lives and will one day soon be successful, so that’s always what keeps me going even though I miss them all dearly.
Now transitioning into college has been a lot easier than expected because I have taken everything I have learned throughout my high school years and everything I have taught myself and just have built onto all of those aspects to make them stronger in the process of making myself a better person.
So without the transition period in high school, I have a feeling that my transition to college would’ve been extremely tough and uneventful.
I look at my time in high school as a blessing. Even though times were tough in the beginning, when I started to accept myself and gain confidence, I can look back on my experience as a positive life experience that put me where I am today.
I can’t thank my friends, teachers, and fellow classmates enough for everything they have taught me and for always being there for me when I needed you.
I want them always to know that I am here for them, no matter what they need, no matter when, no matter where.Without every single one of them playing whatever kind of role they played in my life, I wouldn’t be the same without them. ,
The college transition wouldn’t of been as successful as it has been without all that I had learned from them!
I hope I can make as positive an impact in college as I did in high school and keep striving for bigger and better opportunities, help more people and touch more lives along the way because that is my life’s goal.