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Haley’s Story

Going into 8th grade I had really high expectations. First of all, my first two years at my school were amazing. I made so many new friends and I wanted to end my time there strong. I thought I had everything going for me and I just wanted it to be perfect. I came out of 7th grade thinking that it was the best year ever. The thing is, it never feels like you are in a great part of your life until you leave it. And it was perfect. The best year I could possibly ask for.

I started the year off too fast, wanting everything to happen all at once. It made me miserable. I didn’t know why I was feeling so bad all the time and I was just trying to stay in my routine of doing things, just like they were the year before. I think I get stuck in the past too much, looking at old memories that only cause me to miss the present. I guess I didn’t really understand what was happening all the time because it was all happening so fast. I beat myself up about how I wasn’t enjoying life and was wasting my last year at this school. I think I was overreacting because that time was amazing and I had so much fun.

Near the middle of the year I was getting into a groove. I was really just enjoying every moment of my day and having a lot of fun doing it. I have always loved coming to school, I think it is a really important part of my life that I will never take for granted. I was worried so much that I would look back on this year and regret the things I didn’t do. So I tried to do everything. This was hard to get over, each missed opportunity, bad day, weird feeling. I would beat myself up for it.

Back then I thought, if I was optimistic enough, every day could be the best day of my life. What I didn’t grasp is that you can’t have good days unless you have bad days. At least they aren’t real good days. You end up going into a slump, every day seems to mush together and they are just bland. I thought that every day would be amazing, and when it wasn’t I was really disappointed. I was wrong. Now I know that each day does matter a lot, but not the way that I thought before. Each day teaches you a new lesson about yourself, each good day is a reward for getting through a bad one. You need those bad ones.

I really now understand when people say humans can make a home out of anywhere, as long as they’re together. I think that is really what happened around me in all of my classes. I was always enjoying the company that they gave me. Each class was different and caused me to see my peers a different way. Each funny thing that happened that really adds a lot to your day.

It really sounds cheesy but it’s true. It makes me so happy to think that I got to be a part of that. That all changed when coronavirus started being more present in our lives. It started in January when I just thought it was a virus that would affect people in China. I remember asking my mom if it would affect us at all. It gained speed in the U.S. very fast and I didn’t think it would come to us so fast. I missed school on the last day that school was in session.

I always knew from the start of the year that my last week would be all about going out with a bang. I had no idea that my last week would be in the middle of March. I actually did accomplish my goal of going out with a bang. I did that by having a completely normal week, and I think that is exactly what I needed. The fact that it was a normal week just showed that the normalcy of my 8th grade year is what made it great.

Looking back at the whole year now, I can say in full confidence, that it was perfect. Not in the way that I thought it was going to be at the beginning of the year. It was even better. I did miss so many amazing things because of this virus but I know that it just made me appreciate what I have so much more. It makes us see that each class we take for granted, is the missed opportunity. There is only one thing that I regret doing throughout the whole year, that was that I missed my last day. Even the days that I didn’t like, taught me so much about myself and what I am doing. All of it was amazing and every part was so important. It was the best year that I have ever had.


Share your own story here. Sharing stories is a powerful way to connect with other people. Be part of the Teen Health & Wellness Personal Story Project—like Haley did above—and share your story about successfully dealing with or overcoming a challenge.