Growing in the dark: 159,490 minutes remaining


Kylee Barnes, Journalism 1 writer

The teenagers that attend MHS will spend an average of 4920 hours in classes that we believe will affect the rest of our lives. We are one step away from becoming people who are capable of changing the world around us. First high school, then graduate, college, job, move out, etc.  We are all working towards the same thing, a seemingly unreachable goal. Obtain the endowment of honor (that glowing cap and gown we all stare at with green eyes when the soon to graduate seniors collect theirs) and start our actual lives.

Throughout the course of each school year, we grow and change as people. We hold onto bonds and relationships in a hopeless attempt to avert the natural cycle of change. 

At the start of my freshman year I poured my heart and soul into my classes. I decided that this would be the year I set myself up for success. Regardless of that goal, I found myself falling into old, destructive habits as the year went on. I made mistakes and lost friends in the process.

This is everyone’s first time living, and there’s value in recognizing that. The human brain stops developing in our mid to late 20s. That gives us plenty of room to make mistakes like failing a test or hurting someone you didn’t mean to. Everyone makes mistakes, what matters is what we attempt to learn from them. 

I have made my share of mistakes throughout my high school career, but the biggest mistake was forgetting how to be my own person. We are so easily influenced at this age, without any clue that we are being influenced at all. We make friends with the wrong people and get sucked into drama we didn’t mean to be a part of. But through making mistakes like these, we learn things about ourselves and the people around us that, hopefully, will be applicable to situations we encounter throughout the rest of our lives.

Every single one of our peers are going through the same process in different ways. We are learning, growing, and stepping up to become members of the world. We are all hurting and being hurt in our own ways, big or small. Someone close to you could be struggling with something they simply can’t find the courage to put into words, or you could be that person yourself.

As my freshman year progressed, I was truly a dreadful person to be around. I remember feeling as if nothing mattered and there was no purpose to my life, and that negativity radiated out of me with no control. I always found myself not knowing what to do when people came to me for advice or sympathy. The guilt and anxiety began to build until eventually, I cracked.

I was hurting, and that caused me to unconsciously hurt some of the people I care for the most. That’s no excuse, but I’ve acknowledged my mistake, and since then, grown from it. 

I was so busy relying on other people for the source of my own happiness, but I was entirely ignoring the fact that I had done nothing on my own to seek it out.

We are so focused on the people around us and what THEY feel, that we start to neglect our own emotions in the process of trying to take care of the people we love. The simple truth is that if you’re not helping yourself, you can’t help others. You can’t control how other people feel or act, you can only work to improve yourself and your own reactions. 

While keeping in mind that your own mental and physical wellbeing is the most important thing to maintain; relationships are also vital to our existence as a society. We share ideas and opinions that make us think in new ways and view situations from different perspectives. It provides our acquaintances and friends with a chance to learn and grow through us.

Drilling this crucial optimism into my brain is a task that I still work on today. Focusing on the good things in life, rather than absorbing the negative, can refine your attitude towards existing as a whole.