I have graduated. I walked across the stage, I got my diploma, I didn’t throw my cap because I didn’t want to loose it in the mass of 480 students, but I was very happy.
But rather than talking graduation, I’d like to talk a little bit about this hell and then about this hell in regards to the YA community because you guys who actually read this blog know that my current thing is teens in YA.
Out of all four years of high school my freshmen year was the best.
I think it goes, freshmen was the best, senior for second, sophomore for third, and junior year is so far last you can’t even see it.
So, freshmen year in a nutshell: I had hopes and dreams and goals. My grades were pretty good, I was in JROTC, French Club, Drill, and briefly debate.
Freshmen year I felt no pressure to read nor did I have a Twitter or Blog. I just read at leisure.
Freshmen year was the first year I went to author events. My friend and I went to see Rick Riordan talk and it was AMAZING! Then my family endured our first trek down to YALLFest to see Veronica Roth but it turned out we couldn’t so we saw Tahereh Mafi, Marie Lu, Veronica Rossi, and Lauren Oliver instead.
It was a laid back and fun year. I was kind of an awkward teen, it’d just cut my hair short and was still making my way through a semi-goth phase but overall, it was alright.
Sophomore year was messier.
First of all, I joined no clubs. My freshmen year I wanted to be a scientist, a pathologist or a neurologist but I took AP Bio and nearly failed (partially because of preventable things), I’d considered the army but all love I’d once had for JROTC was now gone and I hated it. I started caring less.
This was my second year going to YALLFest and by far my favorite year. I met Bardugo, Maas, Bracken, Hodkin, and probably more that I’m forgetting but I know I bought a lot of books in prep for that year’s event.
This was also the year I got a Twitter, formed a blog, and learned about plus got ARCs, so everything really went downhill from there.
I realized I wanted to be like all the popular bloggers in the community and thought I was good enough to do what they were doing (plot twist, I wasn’t then and I’m not now).
I was awkward and terrible at communicating with people, I literally had no idea what I was doing or how to work social media, much less Twitter and I really wanted ARCs and friends.
ARCs I got through a former friend. They made me feel special. I didn’t realize I was not special nor did I need all the ARCs I was getting. What I needed were book friends and those I was having a difficult time with. (Fuck, I still have an awful time with friends, I’m scared to call the people I deem friends ‘friends’ because I don’t know if they feel the same).
(Fuck, I still have an awful time with friends, I’m scared to call the people I deem friends ‘friends’ because I don’t know if they feel the same).
Essentially, sophomore year set me up for the upcoming nightmare that was my junior year.
Now let’s talk about junior year and I want to go ahead and add a trigger warning for mentions of suicide and depression.
Junior year sucked.
Like every other year of high school, I went in thinking about how awesome it was going to be and I was going to be amazing and on top of my work.
Junior year is the only year where I like really wanted to die and thought about suicide and how I could do it at least once a week. A least once a month I had some kind of showdown with a pill bottle and would constantly look up how much I had to take to kill myself, might have actually attempted, it’s a bit blurry and I prefer to avoid going into details if I can but… Shit may have happen…
I cried myself to sleep almost every night and my self-hatred hit an all time low. A lot of time was spent with my thinking about of gross I was in appearance and personality and question every move I made to the point where nothing felt natural. Everything was someone else and both that person disgusted me as much as I was disgusted with me.
To top it off I completely gave up on school. Almost the whole year I had no access to my grades and I just shrugged it off and took up the mentality of if I can’t see my grades then they won’t go down. Even though I wasn’t doing any work so they were going down.
Also, I did join two clubs but neither were active so it wasn’t like I had those to look forward to.
I made the mistake of taking four AP classes which I know people can take more and I’ve watched people successfully take and pass more but for me, that was my limit. I couldn’t do anymore and I was barely scraping by in three of them. Plus I was doing terrible in nearly all of my general classes.
That year was also the year I focused almost solely on my blog and becoming a better blogger. I completely threw away academics in favor of this god awful blog.
Okay, quick disclaimer, I like to talk about how teen bloggers, bookstagrammers, booktubers and such are the bomb because they can juggle high school and such- this does not negate that. Junior year was not my year for existing, other times, I do well and other teens do great.
End of Trigger Warning.
I also read nothing my junior year. I think I read twelve or thirteen books total and a lot of those I read at the end of 2016 going into this year. Mostly, I just spent time trying to hype up books as much as possible but then panicking over all the books I had to read (because I kept getting too many arcs from my former friends) and nothing got done but hype.
I had nothing to back that hype up with because I spent all my time panicking over reading books and getting school work done instead of actually doing those things.
I wanted to be capable of holding down a wonderful blog while doing a lot and school but I wasn’t at that time but I didn’t actually see that until it was too late.
(Like end of the year, my GPA now in the gutter late).
You don’t have to go back too far to find my hiatus post. I took a break from blogging and Twitter for a while.
I came back to Twitter first because of ALA and I wanted to get to know people before ALA. Figure out who was going and find a buddy.
Then after I’d actually read more books I came back to blogging.
After I shut all of this down I actually started getting work done for school and while a lot of academic damage had already been done I prevented even more from occurring. It’s amazing what happens when you actually care.
Also, I did go to YALLFest but it wasn’t the best YALLFest, a lot like my actual junior year it was meh. I just saw a lot of people I’d seen before because there wasn’t really anyone new I was interested in seeing.
Now for senior year. Senior year has treated me better. I ended up doing a lot of damage control for junior year.
Over the summer I managed to calm down from the chaos of junior year and I started becoming a little bit happier. At some point during this academic year I took up running again and that’s helped.
The only real problem with senior year was the absolute feeling of Done. Like, my peers and I joked all throughout high school that we were so Done and we were but take all the feelings of Done you’ve felt throughout high school, multiple it by 100 and that’s how done you are your senior year.
To make matters weirder the feeling of Done gets so much worse after 1. You submit college applications and 2. when you get decisions.
After decisions it’s like “Okay, I’m done, let me go!”
If you take AP courses, after the exams, it’s worse, too. Because where I am we still have about a month until we’re free and since most AP kids seem to have the mentality of “my AP classes are all that matter” and so we shut down after exams.
This sucked for me because instead of getting early release I took a whole bunch of easier filler classes since I did so bad my junior year, to give me a little boost.
Most were worthless but not as much so as Creative Writing. I have never hated writing more than I did in that class.
Anyways senior year was chill despite the chaos of having to apply for colleges and then the feeling of OMG Am I Going To Get In If Not I’ll Die.
There was just a content sense of finality over the entire year. Like when a show you really love is coming to a close and you know you’ll be able to revisit it and all of the characters but you’ll miss it.
It felt a little like that. Like, I’ll miss my friends and the teachers that I came to appreciate through the years. Not as much the actual school building though because it still looks like a fucking prison and our administration is a damn mess which is part of the reason for the mass exodus of teachers these last three years.
But hey. I learned and it was awesome. I got to hang out with friends.
I went to YALLFest and it was amazing, I got to see Susan Dennard and Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli. Hopefully, I’ll get to go again this year. I’m crossing my fingers for a good lineup and a potential trip.
Also, that I won’t have any Friday classes.
I’m praying y’all.
Anyways, I didn’t get to go to as many signings as I did my junior year. I saw SJM while she was still in my okay favors, I saw Jodi (because when don’t I see Jodi?) and Susan Dennard (yes multiple times, I feel bad for her, I’m annoying).
(No, I don’t feel bad for annoying Jodi, she’s used to it by now).
Anyways, after reading a good amount, taking okay care of my blog, my mental health, and my academic stuff… Senior year has been good to me.
Sure, I still cried myself to sleep a fair amount but at this point, I think that’s habit, something I do to get all of the negativity out like I try to do when I run.
So. I graduate. I was scared and I kind of blacked out a little bit. I managed to get enough tickets for everyone who came to actually go to the ceremony (we get six tickets and I had A Lot more guests).
But helping me to the stage were my books.
I was helped by my books. I can’t tell you all how it feels to have my YA books to escape to. To pretend for a second I wasn’t suffering through high school but on some grand adventure. Or at least, I wasn’t suffering high school alone.
And I’ll carry that with me. I don’t think my love of YA will die no matter how old I get but I’d like to offer a reminder to my fellow older YA peeps that YA is always for teens. That a majority of the times it does more for them than us and that they should be prioritized here.
Yes, I am still a teen but I turn 19 this year, and once I turn 20 I want to remember the way YA helped me as a teen and ways that YA was better for me while I was a teen and use that to help new and current teens.
High school is fucking rough and having a community and books to fall back on really helps but it sucks, even more, when those teens don’t have it because adults are too busy making their own way to even toss a crumb in teens’ direction.
So, y’all. High school is fucking hell. Don’t make it worse on teens by excluding them from their own community.
Until next time.