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Burning Bridges to Light the Way

Cliques are a part of high school – at least they were at Evanston Township High School. Don’t believe me? The movie “Mean Girls” was actually based off ETHS.

The cliques there aren’t necessarily as cliché as they were in the movie, but you could tell who the “cool” kids were and where everyone else fell from there. I had a smaller group of friends, but, hey; quality over quantity, right?

My high school class produced more than 700 graduates. That’s 700 caps, 700 gowns and 700 yearbook pictures. I think I knew around 50 kids on a personal level, and even that might be a stretch.

Don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t the kid who ate lunch in the janitor’s closet or the kid who worked alone for group projects. I just didn’t have a clique. This isn’t going to be one of those “march to the beat of your own drum” stories – it’s more about figuring out what instrument you want to play.

Saying someone “hasn’t changed since high school” is ridiculous because, in reality, no one is even remotely close to the person they were throughout those four years. I hope the Maddy White who goes to Bradley looks and acts nothing like the Maddy White who to ETHS. Thankfully, there is much less metal in my mouth and way more confidence in my personality.

Bridges haven’t been completely burned, but the desire to go back and walk through the old halls or say “hi” to the teachers hasn’t hit me, and I don’t know if it ever will. The transition from high school to college is easily the biggest plot twist my life has taken, but there is never a day when I wish I could go back, and that’s OK.

Even though I don’t have the fondest memories of high school, it was hard for me to let go of what I was familiar with and what had been engraved into my mind during those four years. It was hard for me to take the leap into a campus full of question marks when I had such a solid routine back home.

If you’re someone who had an amazing high school experience, I have nothing to say but “kudos.” Somewhere between “One Tree Hill” and “Gossip Girl,” my expectations got too high and the results were underwhelming, to say the least. I guess Chuck Bass has that effect on people.

My main point here is you don’t have to think of this college experience as “high school 2.0” or feel like you need those familiar arms out to catch you if you fall. The goal here is to fly.

You’ll always have your town, your friends, your family and your memories. Please realize that there is no gigabyte limit on the memories you keep in your heart, and there is always room to make more.

College is its own experience, and you should let it take on that role. Let yourself sink deep into new experiences, people and places. It’s time to jump.

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