The Saga of Sophomore Year // what high school really taught me

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

As of one week ago today, I am officially finished with my sophomore year of high school. This year was a strange one -- it sort of fizzled off into nonexistence. There was no fanfare, no whisper chanting of "summer, summer, summer..." from the back of the class, and no jumping out of chairs when the final bell of the 2015-2016 year rang. It was all very mundane, actually. 

I learned a lot this year, but not just academically. In fact, I'd be willing to argue that the non-academic lessons are probably more important than graphing a quartic function or learning how to titrate chemicals (lol that's probably not even the correct terminology because I don't even know what that is really. Sorry, Jennifer.) 

Most people are really just normal.

In movies and books, you hear about cliques: jocks, nerds, musicians, etc, etc. But really, at least where I'm from, I've learned that most people are really just normal. Under all that makeup, football talk, cute insta posts, and popularity, people really are just people looking for life on the same journey as you and I are. There is no reason to fit them into a box just to satisfy your insecurities. I've learned that, with people, there is infinitely more depth than we imagine there to be.

Disney Channel is inaccurate.

First of all, dress code -- I cannot count the number of times I've seen Selena Gomez or Miley Cyrus walking around their fake high school in mini skirts and spaghetti straps on television. That's not actually how life goes. Dress code does indeed exist (I could rant about the double standard, but I won't), and it's not fun. 

Second, on a more serious note -- nothing is ever black and white. This is probably more of a continuation of the first point, but I want to reiterate something: there aren't just heroes and villains. And the people who appear to be villains always have a backstory. There are reasons people become like they do. It doesn't justify it, but it helps us better understand it. The girl who shames you because you're not pretty enough probably feels that she's really the one who doesn't measure up; the guy who puts you down because you study too much and have "no life" outside of school probably feels that his grades will never measure up to yours. 

Dexter tells Tracy in High Society, "You'll never be a wonderful woman, or even a wonderful human being until you learn to have some regard for human frailty." There are no super humans in real life; everybody hurts somehow. And I am reminded of a verse Mark when Jesus sees the true frailty of the rich man in front of him: "Jesus looked at him and loved him," it reads (Mark 10:21). We as a human race will never get anywhere until we look at people and love them instead of looking at people and judging them. It doesn't matter how much sin they're living in, because it's likely that you've got some sin in your life, too. It amazes me that every time I read through the Gospels, I see just how much compassion Jesus had for people. When are we going to start living like that? It's never black and white. Remember that.

Chemistry is awful.

I want to say that I had the best chemistry teacher ever, but words cannot express how much I really hated that class. I, as a future English Major, find no use for it in my life. That is all.

Crying is okay; sometimes, it's even mandatory.

I am a very emotional person, but I don't often share those emotions. Most of the time, they get bottled up and explode everywhere when I can't hold it in anymore. My freshman english teacher told our class once that it's good to watch sad movies because you can get a good cry out to let out all those bottled up emotions. I am a firm believer in that. I am also a firm believer in crying even when you're not watching a sad movie. 

Y'all, crying does not make you weak. Jesus wept, and I don't think any of us would call him weak, would we? We can't be strong all the time. When life is overwhelming and you feel like crying, cry. Cry and remember that there will soon enough be a day that no tears exist because you'll forever be in the presence of Jesus. 

Escaping reality only dulls the pain and doesn't cure it.

I like books. A lot. And I like escaping through books. There were times in my life that I didn't listen to anyone, and God chose to speak to me through the books I read to bring me back to him. But in real life, escaping only dulls the pain. Forgetting about it does not make it go away, and when you're forced to remember it again, it usually hurts worse. I've learned to cast my burdens on the Lord because he really does care. I promise. When he promises to cure your pain, he will. Every time. You've just gotta learn to let him in.

So-and-so from whatever class is not gonna remember what you wore last week.

You wear those sweatpants, girl. Even if, gasp, you already wore them that week. Because in the end, during school, anyway, your comfort means more than those you impress. Now, I'm not giving you an excuse to look sloppy every day of your life because I am a firm believer in dressing cute, but if you rolled out of bed with five minutes to get ready, wear those sweatpants and that messy bun and don't feel bad about it.

It's not all for nothing.

I know that high school does matter, because I know that God would not put me through anything that is irrelevant to my growth and well-being. He wants what's best for us (Romans 8:28, remember?) and if this route you're on was not what was best for you, you wouldn't be on it. Rest in that and push through.

People are really awesome.

I'm an introvert. (Most bloggers are, to tell you the truth.) A lot of times, people scare me. A lot of times, I go to the self check out at the grocery store just to avoid talking to anyone. A lot of times, I turn down an invitation because I want to stay at home and read a book. But this year, through organizations like Young Life, I've learned that people really are awesome. And you were made to have real, thriving relationships. Humans are relational beings, and without those relationships, we'll eventually lose our fire. Form real friendships with real people. I promise you won't regret it.

Being yourself is infinitely more rewarding than trying to fit in.

Please be yourself. Please, please, please, don't try to change your personality to make someone else happy. God made you who you are for a reason. If there were seven billion Mary Shelley Reids walking around this earth, the world would undoubtedly die or boredom. In fact, that would happen if there were seven billion of any one person walking around. We need diversity to thrive, guys. So be diverse!!!! Please!!!

You're not super woman. (Sorry.)

I once wore a super girl costume when I was little. (I think it was my sister's but that's beside the point.) And, surprise, when I put it on I did not do anything to save the world. I know we all want to think of ourselves as super-epic people who surpass everyone else in our epicness, but we're not. (Sorry again.) You can't do everything. If you set your sights on one tasks instead of setting an impossible goal, I know you'll feel much more super. When you complete that goal, move on to another small one. Don't set a super huge goal that Captain America himself could not accomplish. Baby steps, y'all :)


  1. MARY SHELLEY!!!!!!!!!!


    Anyways. I got excited.

    asdfghjkl I loved this post so much. Like, all of these are honestly so spot on. Literally, everyone is normal if you don't pay attention to stereotypes. Dress codes are THE WORST OF EVER. (I'm actually drafting a post on them and trying not to come across like a terrible person. xD Remind me to tell you about that.) Chemistry is pretty evil. (Although I liked it better than Anatomy? Bc Anatomy was just gross.) Ughhhhh I wish that escaping into books helped bc it's so much easier, but it doesn't, it really doesn't. I'm honestly not a crier at all, can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. YAY I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO WOULD RATHER CHILL AT HOME WITH A BOOK!! :D And gosh I wish I was super woman, but I'm not, and I've really realized that this year. I loved this post, Mary Shelley:) Thanks for reading my huge ramble of a comment xD

    1. YAY IM SO GLAD YOU READ IT :))) And your huge ramble of a comment was very fun to read!

  2. FIRST OFF, I AM SO HAPPY I WAS ABLE TO CLICK ON THIS LINK AND IT WORKED FOR ME!! YAYY!!! I've missed your blog so much, Mary Shelley! :D AND OH MY WORDS THIS POST WAS ALL THE LOVELY THINGS LIKE whoa. <3 "I've learned that, with people, there is infinitely more depth than we imagine there to be." <<< THISSSS!!! You are SO WISE! LIKWHAAAT HOW ARE YOU SO WISE??? *hugs ya* omg i needed this post and I've already been out of "school" for like a year now hahahaha HOW. (See what I mean about being the fairy squad mother but being the most immature?? MUAHAHA *unicorn emojis go here*)

    ALSO I love what you said about meeting people!! As an introvert too, I know it can be suuuuper difficult and awkward getting to meet new people. I've also been homeschooled all my life and grew up in a tiny resort town in the woods so naturally I would be very O_O when it comes to people. But I feel super blessed to be a part of a family who loves traveling. I think that's always helped nudge me out of my shell a little -- PEOPLE FASCINATE ME. Is it weird for an introvert to be like SO EXCITED TO SEE NEW PEOPLE?? but at the same time SOOO EXHAUSTED after talking to people?? :P idk myself sometimes heh.

    YAY FOR SUMMER!! rock on, dude. ;)

    1. Ahhhh Abbie coming from you that honestly means so much!! You're so supa wise & you're calling me wise?! Like seriously, what an honor :)

      AND WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT PEOPLE. YES. I agree 100%. I'm scared to socialize a lot of times but people in general just fascinate me. And we so often build up all these false perceptions about people without even getting to know them. Like I just want to get to know people for who they really are and who God created them to be, ya know??

      ANYWHO I'm rambling. THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENT ABBIE *unicorn emojis*

    I really liked it, and I think that the advice you gave was very truthful and relatable. I'm an extrovert, (one of the few extroverted bloggers *sniffs) but when I was googling more about my personality type it said that the ENFPs are the ones that have a few resemblances with introverts or something because they like to get away from people every once in a while and be alone. TRUTH. also i don't always like to be just super bubbly and extroverted. I mean, that's good sometimes, but like not all the time? Not sure if I'm making much sense, but, yeah :)
    And I agree with you that people are just PEOPLE. Human beings, desperate for a loving Savior, and a whole bunch of them don't know Him. But that's definitely something I try to keep in mind, because they're PEOPLE. And God is so much more mightier and stronger and greater than the strongest PERSON to ever be.
    Awesome post!!

    1. Hey, extroverted bloggers are great!! We need more of those around here :)

      You're so right! Everybody needs a savior, and everybody is searching for fulfillment (which they will only ultimately find in Jesus), which makes us all the same. And if we're all in need of the same thing, why do we put up so many walls?

      Thanks you, Autumn, for your awesome comment, and thank you for taking the time to read my post!

  4. Mary Shelley!! Girl, I can't remember if I have commented here before, and that is just blasphemy. I LOVE your space here. It is, first of all, GORGEOUS, and my goodness... you are one heck of a writer! I needed a highlighter for this post. I really did. Because you nailed so many things.

    High school is a constant learning curb. It definitely we for me, looking back. It sounds like you gained some amazing insight from it though-- our Papa is showing you some amazing things and has gifted you with words so you can share it with the rest of us. Keep speaking it, girl.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting, Kate!! It honestly means so much coming from you. Thank you for being so kind and inspiring :)

  5. hey! so, I don't think you know who I am, but I follow you on Pinterest (and apparently some of your friends (grace whitwell, madilyn davis), which I found out after stalking you a little on Instagram. sorry.). I just found out about this blog from your insta, and I just want to say I am absolutely in love. you are a beautiful writer, and I love reading your stuff! I'm from Mississippi, and I actually went to Colorado about a month ago with my church, so it was fun to see the post. continue on, because this is an amazing blog, and you're doing a wonderful job!!!

    -grace miller, mississippi


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