Opinion: A goodbye worth the heartache

Riley Johansen | Editor-in-Chief

 “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

The second I finished my junior year, I instantly knew what I wanted on my parking spot. A simple quote from Winnie the Pooh, a piece of my childhood that I had always kept close. It was cute, sentimental, but most importantly, it couldn’t be more true. 

Looking back on my high school experience, even in moments where it didn’t quite feel like it, I was lucky.

Walking into MHS my freshman year, I had been bullied out of my middle school friend group. It had disrupted my plans for my next years and added even more obstacles to the already intimidating high school experience. The school was big, the classes were harder, the stakes were higher, and on top of that, I was alone. 

It was awful. At least, it felt awful. But that feeling would pass. 

Looking back on it now, I think that life had given me an opportunity to start fresh. A semester into my freshman year, I got invited onto the Chronicle staff and began to meet one of the best friend groups that would’ve never come naturally. They were weird. They were smart and funny, but each so different from the next — and that’s what made it so great. 

I’d like to think everyone at one time adapted some of their high school expectations from the old 80’s classics and Disney Channel Originals, “The Breakfast Club”, “High School Musical” type stories. The stereotypes of tension between the pops and the geeks, sticking to the status quo, knowing your place and staying within the lines. The mistake some people make, unfortunately, is never realizing that being the “main character” of high school involves sticking to a script. 

Quite literally, I began to write my own story of high school. My love of writing had brought me into the best group possible, the group I now have the incredible honor of leading. That makes me the Editor-in-Chief. But that’s not all I am. 

Had I allowed myself to seek just one role — that one defining thing that would have made me who I thought I was supposed to be in high school, I would have lost out on finding out that high school had so much more for me. 

Going back to who I was before I stepped into high school, I forgot to mention that in seventh grade, I was cut from the softball team. In eighth grade, I got a uniform, but spent more time on the bench than I ever did the field. 

I remember thinking to myself, “maybe athletics isn’t my thing.” I was probably right. I’ll never be mistaken for a softball stud, but still, as I write this, I am preparing to lock arms and walk out onto the field, in the starting lineup, for my senior night, like I have been for nearly every game for the Mason Varsity softball team this season. 

I got to anchor all four years on MBC, but being on camera was never really my love. I liked putting the pictures together, connecting so many contrasting stories into one polished product. I always liked doing the same in this paper, telling the “untold stories” of MHS and those inside it. All of the different stories that defined a school and community. 

That — I guess — is what Mason High School has done for me. 

That lonely, awkward, unsure freshman has turned into a girl filled with experiences that she couldn’t have ever imagined when she walked through those doors. Each new opportunity produced yet another passion that helped spark a new storyline in defining who I am to become instead of waiting for someone to tell me who I was supposed to be. 

So what group do I fit in? 

I’m still not sure. Maybe that’s the point. There have been so many groups in my four years that have shaped me to be who I am — and who am I? I still couldn’t quite tell you. I am still waiting for the next passion, the next storyline, the next lesson I’m supposed to learn; but that might not come from here anymore. 

I’ve been here long enough that MHS has now become my comfort zone. But, like I said, all of my growth through high school was born from being uncomfortable. It’s about time I move to somewhere to feel that way again. It’s a little scary, if I’m honest. 

That’s what makes saying goodbye so hard. 

But that’s why I am lucky.