Remembering Our High School Roots
Published: Friday, September 20, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 20, 2013 00:09
I was sitting in Regents Hall this summer leafing through an LSAT book when I heard people coming down the hallway. Loud and festooned with lanyards, the group was comprised of high school students looking for Blommer Science Library.
Just like this particular guy, the high school students that flood Georgetown during the summer are especially eager, curious and clad in their large backpacks and pimply faces. But then I remembered that my backpack, which I wear almost every day, is twice as large, and I still can’t control my acne. I can laugh at their lanyards, scavenger hunts and their fear of breaking curfew, but I’m not that much different than them — or, at least, I wasn’t. Actually, they were cooler than I was in high school. Looking back on the summer before I entered Georgetown, I definitely cannot pass judgment on any of these high school students.
With my 2010 graduation over, my friends and I went to the beach for a week to celebrate. In the beginning, I disposed of beer cans while others drank because I feared the cops would arrive. I even had a hiding spot (under the sink) if they raided the house. I eventually drank my first beer, but the most memorable feature of the trip was my first bout of sun poisoning, which led to scabbing all over my face.
When I returned home, I resumed my waitressing job at a ritzy golf club. I neither connected with the people I served nor the people I worked with. My day‐to-day life consisted of hearing a member tell me that the lemonade to iced tea ratio of their Arnold Palmer was off or that they wanted an “oaken wine.” I still don’t even know what that last one means. In preparation for hearing statements like these, I frequently listened to Malvina Reynolds’ “Little Boxes,” a song that I interpreted as saying, “Rich people’s lives suck just as much as yours.” On the other hand, my coworkers in the kitchen definitely had ambitions very different from mine and were incredibly profane, which in turn, gave me a bit of an education. At the time, I didn’t see it like that.
The most defining moment of the summer, however, came right before entering Georgetown. Right before school, my parents surprised me with a quick trip to Florida, and we went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. That first morning we rode all the Potter rides and then went back to our hotel. But after dinner, we decided to make a return visit to the park. On my way to get a butter beer, I had a grand mal seizure in the middle of Universal Studios. I had never had a seizure before and haven’t had one since. I don’t remember the next week at all — courtesy of Klonopin — and the following week, I was at Georgetown. Sunburned and coming off of anti-seizure meds, I started college probably more fearful than any high school student I have seen all summer. I didn’t need a lanyard to designate that I was new. My face said it all.
Being a high school student is hard, awkward, and I don’t think I could ever do it again. As a senior in college, I marvel at how different I am from that scabby-faced, seizure girl. I’d like to think of myself now as confident and independent, but seeing those students in Regents reminded me that I really wasn’t a few years ago. I’ve grown into the woman I am today (thank God!), but it’s important to remember those past versions of myself. If any summer program high school kids read this while feverishly researching colleges, thank you for keeping me entertained this summer with your naivete, but more importantly, thank you for keeping me humble.
Mary Burgoyne is a senior in the College. ALMOST ADULT appears every other Friday in the guide.