Well obviously I inspired myself to write this piece, but also my teacher Mrs. Mahmoud inspired...
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We were merely freshman
Now it was summer. It was my first summer leading into high school and no one had any idea just how scared I was. I mean most of my friends from HTS were going to Westmont, but it was a big school, to me at least. It was just such a transition that I didn’t know if I could take it. That summer was so nerve racking that I really didn’t think I could take it. I remember my sisters and I took a trip to Michigan with my sister’s fiancé and his family, and just being away from everything took
some of the pressure off. That trip was so much fun. Being out of the state for the first time was a real adventure for me, yes that summer was the first time I had been out of state. I mean it’s not like I hadn’t been anywhere else in state, but my family and I didn’t really take trips anywhere, and the only time I did anything was with my sisters. Anyway getting back on track, that trip really made me get my mind off of everything. I didn’t think about school, or my friend situation, I just thought about having fun. When we came back home I started thinking about school more and more. The only thing I was excited about was now I could get a piercing, or dye my hair any color I wanted. You bet I did. I don’t remember how many colors I dyed my hair that year, but it was purple, it was red it was brown with red and blonde highlights, it was all red. When I wasn’t dying my hair I had to read. I had a summer reading book which I wasn’t used too, but I was in honors English now so I had to step up my game. Amy went to high school with me and we were still best friends, she and I and this girl from HTS Kristine were all best friends. We were going to be braving freshman year together, and I was just happy I had two people by my side. Even Andy, Matt, and I were closer friends now. We all wanted to stick together because we really didn’t know anyone. Finally it was the first day of school. My first day of school freshman year… what an incredibly crazy year that was, I was so unprepared. If anyone tries to say junior high prepares you for high school they are wrong! Coming from a Catholic school you really don’t know what to expect. You’re used to one classroom, one desk, you keep all your items in that one desk and you basically only keep your coat in your locker. In high school it was so different, not to mention bigger. In high school you had at least one book for every class and a binder to go along with that. You didn’t have a desk to put all of your things because you have about a million different classrooms to visit every day. You have to get used to seven teachers and then change things when a new semester comes along, and don’t even bother with putting things in your locker because you need them for your next class. I had a rude awakening coming into high school. Even though I found Westmont High School (that’s where I went) may not have been that big it was sure larger than anything I had encountered. I pretty much got used to the carrying my book bag around with me everywhere I went and the anxiety of finding my next class… science classes were always upstairs! Don’t even get me started on my teachers. I had seven teachers a day and they were all different. My English teacher was definitely the craziest. I swear all my years throughout high school, I had curse of the English teacher. They were either crazy, or didn’t like me, or they just seemed not to know what they were doing… Now my first English teacher was actually pretty cool, but she treated you like you were her friend. Don’t let her fool you though, she was not your friend! Whenever someone acted like her friend that’s when her crazy side came out she would be like, “Umm, there needs to be a bit more respect here…” Our whole class was seriously confused by her, but she didn’t come back after the first year and we did miss her. I really enjoyed all my classes, except for geography. That class was one big mess. I really can’t even tell you the names of all the states with the exception of Illinois… I think I might be a failure to our country, but at least I found out I know everything about Asia. One big transition for me was lunch. Who was I suppose to sit with at lunch? How was I supposed to know we had two lunch periods and that my friends were possibly not in my lunch? Thank God Amy was in my lunch period and I wasn’t all alone but I seriously had to start talking to people. I swear some people in this school were freaks… I remember there was this one junior who kept saying I killed his cat…Now lunch was insane it was like animals coming to a feeding. I was not used to it. Heck, I only got hot lunch once a week at my old school. This was so different. All these kids from different grades all came together in one big spot and had to get in a lunch line, and, yes, there would be fights if people cut, but that didn’t stop people from cutting each other. Amy and I did end up sitting together and we also sat with these other girls we met from some different classes. I wasn’t really sure about some of them, but most of them seemed nice. This school was literally just a different experience for me. I was so shy I didn’t really know how to meet anyone. One day I remember I was standing at Kristine’s locker and I was wearing a My Chemical Romance t-shirt, little did I know that story would be the beginning to basically half of my high school career. Anyway, I was standing at her locker and all of a sudden this guy came up to me shoved his iPod in my face and said “My Chemical Romance Badass!” It was literally the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me. Hey I don’t get out much… I remember she kept questioning me and wondering if I knew the guy because he was clearly acting like he knew me, but no I did not know him. At least people were starting to talk to me. I had a metals class that I really hated. Why did I take this class? Well, no one could answer me that because I have no clue to this day. I’m not going to lie though, I met some pretty cool people in that class one in particular was my soon to be best friend Ally. I started talking to her because she was the only other girl in the class and I desperately needed someone to talk to in that class. She seemed really cool at first. She liked a lot of the same music as me and we really seemed to have a lot of the same interests. We started to get to know each other a lot better and we were becoming friends fast! Ally also introduced me to some of her friends which I found out were in some of my other classes. Karly was in my gym class, or physical education which the teacher forced us to say… it was no longer gym. We became friends quickly too and gym class was always really fun with her. Freshmen year was most definitely the year where we all liked too many boys… I remember Karly liked this boy in our gym class and he was like really weird, but he was kind of funny. He was also friends with the boy that used to follow me around and yell things at me. Karly started saying that I liked that boy, but honestly I wasn’t sure. I always said I didn’t, but I remember telling Ally I thought he was cute. I took a big leap freshman year and stated joining clubs. This was a great idea, because then I started becoming friends with upper classmen and everyone knows that’s a good idea. I actually had a decent amount of friends actually. I was talking to people instead of being shy. This was also kind of sad because my old friends and I didn’t talk as much. Andy and Matt joined football and became friends with all of those guys and Amy started talking to girls who were really rude, and I don’t think they liked me very much. I still tried though. I tried to become friends with those girls, although they would barely talk to me. I felt so left out all the time. We were still friends though we had to make it work. One of my clubs was holding a party/poetry reading/ some other type of thing. Since I wanted to look good I got all this pizza donated and I bought a ton of pop, everyone was really proud of me. I felt like I was on cloud nine because all of the juniors and seniors thought I was cool. Before the music and the poetry readings started our club had to get everything set up. Guess who was in the club? Don’t bother guessing I’ll just say it, it was the guy who kept yelling things at me and saying I killed his cat… did he think this was flirting? He came over and started to talk to me and said that his name was Tommy and he just kind of started talking to me. I remember he took my phone and I got really scared because I didn’t want him to see that there were text messages about him on there. (I’m a girl I was texting my friends that a guy was actually talking to me) my phone buzzed and the song was My Chemical Romance’s Helena he said something like wow you really like MCR don’t you? All I could reply with was a chuckle and a stupid yes. I felt really dumb around him. All of a sudden his friends started coming by us and they were like hey what’s up ohh who’s this? (Meaning me…) Literally all I can remember is him hugging me and saying ohh it’s just my wife and laughing. Really? Why do these things to unsuspecting freshmen? They take things way to seriously. Especially if they are girls. What I mean by this is obviously us girls read way too much into things. What did he mean by this? Why did he move his hair like that? Was he looking at me? Were we in an arranged marriage that I didn’t know about? I mean boys have you learned nothing? Of course girls take things way too seriously and I definitely thought he was in love with me! Now I really felt like I was on cloud nine. The next day he kept talking to me in gym, and he said he wanted to play me in badminton because he thought he could beat me. I was up for the challenge because I am boss at badminton and will always win. We played and at game point he hit the birdie a really weird way, and sadly I lost… it wasn’t a fair match. It was lunch now and I went to the media center… I found out you could actually go to the Media Center if you had too! That was probably one of the coolest things I had ever heard. I went to the media center and who was there, but Tommy; it turns out he had the same lunch as I did. I didn’t want him to think I was like following him so I just sat at a table instead of a computer and I started doing some homework. He came and sat by me and was just being distracting, not that I really cared. Finally, I don’t know if I should have done this, but I did. I asked Tommy if he had a phone and he being kind of dumb was like ohh yeah and just pulled it out and was like showing me… I was like umm ok but do you have a phone number? He started laughing and said ohh yeah, sorry I didn’t get it. I did it. I got a number from a boy and he got my number. Not that I was brave enough to use it, but at least I got it. Now, my friends really thought I liked him, but I still just denied it. I was so excited! It was almost homecoming and not to mention my birthday! This year was really turning out great. I was going to be 15 that year. I remember being really scared that my life was going to be like a John Hughes movie. I figured since my sister was getting married that everyone would forget about my birthday and I’d be like the girl in “Sixteen Candles”. Thank goodness that didn’t happen, but that year I let everyone in school know it was my birthday. I even told this one really mean kid who replied with “Who cares?” He must have had an emotional disturbance. I invited some people over to my house for a party. It was pretty fun we all watched Prom Night and my friend Brittany kept screaming. She was so funny. Since my sister’s wedding was quickly approaching I got a really beautiful bridesmaid dress at David’s Bridal. The cool thing about this was since we were spending so much money on the wedding I got to get another dress for about half off. The wedding was so amazing, and my sister let me invite my friends so I wasn’t all alone. We all had a really great time actually. I got the most beautiful blue homecoming dress ever! My dress was short with blue lace and sequins on top and on the bottom it came out and flowed with a blue silk over it. I was going to look so hot. Too bad I sprained my arm doing god knows what and had to wear a sling. I literally looked so dumb. My mom told me that I didn’t have to wear it for the dance, but that’s not what my doctor said and I didn’t want to risk it. I now looked like a complete nerd, and being a freshman I thought to myself you are such a loser… My friends obviously didn’t care. They thought it was funny and said I looked cute. Time for the dance
The dance was so different from anything I had ever experienced. We actually had a good DJ and there were so many people! Literally there were so many people in school on a Saturday at night that I thought we were at a club or something. I went with a pretty big group of friends and we all had a good time together. Not one of us had a date, but that wasn’t really that big of a deal, there were some guys in our group it wasn’t like we didn’t have anyone to dance with. It’s not like we were complete loser freshmen or anything. I remember it was really hard to dance with my sling on and I’m sure I looked like a complete dork. That was literally one of the dumbest homecomings ever. The only cool thing about it was the theme. It was masquerade ball, which I thought was a really good idea. I thought it was so cool how people got to plan the dances and everything I wished I could do that. For this dance though I thought you had to buy a mask, luckily I wasn’t dumb enough to bring a mask of my own because student council made really pretty masks for us. I remember all the tables being filled with glitter and the walls were covered with masks too it was really cool. I’m not going to lie though, the DJ sucked. Since I knew I looked dumb, I barely danced and I pretty much just stood around. While my friend Monica and I were standing around Tommy came up and started talking to me he said I looked really cute in the sling and then walked away. I was astounded. I had never gotten so much attention from boy before. This was pretty cool to me and my friend Monica said he was “totally flirting.” After the dance we all went to a bonfire, I can’t quite remember whose house it was at, but I remember I felt so cool; this was my first high school party and my mom was actually letting me stay out a little bit later. It’s not like there was drinking or anything it was just a regular bonfire, but it was really fun, and I met a lot of cool people. I also found that it was better to be friends with everyone than to pick and choose your friends which is what Amy and Kristine were doing. The next week was very weird apparently homecoming week was a time for new relationships. My friend Karly started dating this guy and she knew that I sort of had a crush on him. I just let it go though, it wasn’t like it would have worked out he was a complete band geek and I was moving up in the world. They would always come to me with relationship advice he would text me asking stuff about her and she would text me seeing if I could find stuff out about him. It was really weird. They lasted for about a month… ahh, young love. I wasn’t doing that well in the boy area. I hadn’t talked to Tommy for a while and Christmas break was coming closer and closer. I decided if I should get my friends presents or not and since I didn’t have any job, the decision was a no. I did however get my family presents. It isn’t the same when you had no money of your own, but I still liked buying everyone presents for Christmas. I was thinking about buying Tommy a present, but I didn’t know if that would be weird or not. My mom said I should, it would be fine. So I did and right before break I gave it to him. He really liked it, I even forgot what I gave him, but he liked it and that was alright with me. My friends and I hung out a lot during Christmas break, we went sledding (this was my first time sledding by the way) and I remember my friend Ally and I making chocolate chip cookies. Ally was really cool and we got along great together. It was finally Christmas and my family was at my aunts. I saw my phone had a missed call and I went outside. I checked my phone and it had one new voice-mail. I was freaking out it was from Tommy! He called to say have a Merry Christmas and thanks for picking up your phone. I knew he wasn’t being serious because he was laughing but I called him back immediately! Of course it would be my luck that he didn’t answer his phone. I just left him a message that said thank you and Merry Christmas back. I was about to go back inside when my phone rang. I nearly died; dying on Christmas would not be good. I was pretty much shaking and I answered my phone. It was Tommy and we talked for like thirty minutes. We talked about so much random stuff, but I was so excited that he called me. I had to go though because we were all about to eat dinner. He said it was ok and he would call me later. I was so excited I had never got a call from a guy. Not even when I was dating what’s his face… I know that’s sad right? I went the rest of Christmas break without talking to him, I didn’t call him and he never called me back, but I figured it was ok that didn’t mean anything. The rest of the year played out pretty normal. The play was right around my birthday and a lot of people I know were in it. My friend Kristine actually got a part in it and I was really surprised because I never even knew she wanted to be an actress. The play was really good and I bought Ally and Kristine flowers. Karly and I went to Jewel and it was probably the most fun trip to Jewel ever. Karly really liked this guy who worked there and he was a cashier. We bought flowers and gum and we went in his line. She was so nervous she couldn’t even talk to him. I can still hear him saying, “Did you want the gum in a bag?” And her just looking dumbfounded, then me yelling at her, “Karly, did you want the gum in a bag?” She replied with a slow no and looked really embarrassed and it was really funny. I hate to say that embarrassing moments of my friends are funny, but they are way better than my embarrassing moments. Karly and I went to the play and it was my first since I was about 8 years old with my sisters. The auditorium was bigger than anything I ever saw at Holy Trinity and I was very impressed. The lighting set the stage and the acting wasn’t too horrible, I was especially shocked when actors had to kiss each other. It was funny, but I never really expected this for a school production. My friends really did a great job too. Who knew they had it in them.
One thing I will never forget from high school is the football games. In the fall football was our biggest sport, but it was kind of sad that our marching band was better than our football team. Still all of us Sentinels always came to cheer each other on even if we lost. Most of the time there was no storming the field for us, but we still had fun, and our super fan section was always the best! At first I didn’t really like football or “school spirit” I was still really shy. Whenever I didn’t go to a football game I regretted it, and if I did go I felt kind of awkward. I wanted to have fun like everyone else, but I wasn’t close enough to everyone yet. My new friend John was on the football team and Karly, Ally, and me always went to cheer him on (sometimes I just wasn’t there). Even though our football team mostly lost we all had fun and that’s all that mattered. I really wanted to try out for a sport but it just wasn’t happening. I used to play volleyball and softball, but I was just too busy with other things, like trying to balance high school. I was really attached to my sisters. It was really hard to transition from Holy Trinity to Westmont and then try and make a ton of friends so I became even closer with my sisters. Even when people would invite me out to hang out with them I didn’t really want to go. I felt like I would be missing something at home. I figured I needed to be with my family at all times. It’s not a bad thing to hang out with your family, but it’s also good to make friends. It got really bad sometimes where even when I had plans I would break them to go do whatever my sisters were doing. I finally started letting go little by little and would go see movies with my friends or go to half of a football game and then hangout with my sisters.
The semester was almost over and it was time to take finals. This is the time I started to get panic attacks. I knew High School was serious and I knew I had to get good grades so I would freak out about tests. Each night before a test I would start to hyperventilate and I didn’t know what was happening because this had never happened to me before. So one can imagine before my finals I was freaking out. I just had to learn how to deal with my panic attacks and since I was using coping techniques like counting I got them less frequently. So many things happened to me my freshman year. I was diagnosed with Occipital Neuralgia… this mean I have an exposed nerve by the back of my occipital lobe. Yeah that’s pretty cool right? Well I got headaches a lot so bad to the point I would throw up. I went to get an MRI and a CAT scan and that’s how the doctor found it, they sent me to a neurologist. I’ve been doing pretty good with the medicine I was on, but that was a lot for a freshman to take. I was also introduced to many “interesting” things to say the least. I met a girl named Alicia and she was so nice. We hung out a lot, but it’s not like I couldn’t see she was a stoner. I have to say I was proud of myself, and of her. She never pressured me to smoke, and she knew I didn’t like it so she never smoked around me. It was crazy I had never been introduced to things like this before; I just had to figure out how to deal with it. I mean that’s what life is all about right? It’s about dealing with things that come your way. I’m pretty sure everyone thought I was doing drugs, but I wasn’t and when people asked if they could have a cigarette I would just look at them like “are you serious right now?”I didn’t see how I fit the stereotype of someone who could do drugs either. I mean I wore band t-shirts and jeans a lot. I guess that was what druggies wore. I really got offended when people thought I did drugs. I wanted to change my image the only problem was I had to have money to buy new cloths and new accessories to make me seem less like a “druggie”. This meant I needed a job, but a person really can’t get a job when they’re only 15. I was so ready for freshman year to be over. I was tired of being an underclassman, but I still had almost a whole other semester to go. I started hearing about this thing called Snowball and I thought it sounded really dumb. There was no way I was going to go to that. There were plenty of people telling me how everyone who went there was a hypocrite and I certainly was not a hypocrite. Ally was going apparently she was a “leader” or something like that; I thought it was dumb and I was totally turned off to the idea. Everyone wanted to go even Tommy said Ally wanted him to go and I wasn’t really excited for that. I kind of thought Ally liked Tommy, but I just brushed it off. I was like well that’s cool but I heard it was dumb. I think he ended up not going, but we hadn’t talked as much as I would have liked… I needed things to progress way more if I was going to hang out with him or something. It seemed like high school was already way too complicated for me and I just was not very excited about it.
Finally after months which seemed like years of waiting spring break showed up! It was pretty fun, but of course I had homework. I hung out a lot with my friends Karly John and Ally. I met this really cool kid. His Name was Granite Von-Zastow. Yes Granite like the rock. Ally and I were making things to have for a picnic with her and John and Karly and of course Karly brought her boyfriend. Ally asked if she could bring her friend Granite which turned out to be a mutual friend of everyone else too. Of course no one cared. That when I was in my red pants wearing phase. Yeah, it was weird I think I looked weird but it’s ok. He showed up and he looked straight out of a punk band. He complimented my red pants and aviators and I said I’m going to call you Granite. To have this make a bit more sense I actually gave him the nick-name Granite Von-Zastrow, because I misheard my friend say his actual name and everyone’s been calling him Granite ever since. We have also been friends ever since that fateful day in spring. It was really amazing how I could meet so many new people so quickly in high school yet in HTS I had barely any friends, and it was also cool how I started meeting people from different schools. The school year was really flying by. We got back in school and there were only about two months left. I thought it was crazy. I was almost done being a freshman! How could this be? I was actually growing up. I had basically survived my first year of high school! I was so excited for summer to be here. I was going to chill out max relax all cool and shoot some b-ball outside of school. Actually I was not going to do any of that, but I was however going to sleep chill out and watch “Melrose Place” a plenty with my sister. I was also stoked to hang out with my friends and possibly go to Chicago or something. This summer was going to be my summer I thought. I wanted to do so many things. Unfortunately all I heard from my mom was “you’re not going to Chicago by yourself. I don’t care what your friends do.” I didn’t even have a car yet. All I had was a permit that was worthless. Summer didn’t really start out with a bang. I really just stayed at home, and even though I didn’t do much it seemed like the summer was flying by. Also concerts started to seem like a really big thing. I was getting invited, but I was never allowed to go. I was starting to get sick of these restrictions. Now summer was almost over and I hadn’t done anything. I felt like a loser; all my friends were having fun without me. My mom just didn’t get I was in high school now; I should have been allowed to have a little fun. My sisters always yelled at me. They said that I should be happy with the freedom I had, that they didn’t get to do half of the things I did. I thought, well you never wanted to do half the things I did. My summer was not great but hopefully sophomore year would be.