Following the news since 1972

The North Star

Following the news since 1972

The North Star

Following the news since 1972

The North Star

Senior Column: Savannah Hurst



Growing up, I never had to worry about my mental health. Each year I looked forward to my birthday. I couldn’t wait to feel older. I spent all year finalizing my wish once the time would come for me to blow out the candles. My wishes ranged from Barbie dream houses to my first makeup products. I started wishing for high school to come, everyone fantasized about it being the most amazing 4 years of your life. Now, I wish to go back and feel as healthy as I once was before I reached my teenage years. For my 17th birthday, I wished to go back to my middle school years, for just one day, to re-experience every laugh and un-toxic smile. 

Here’s why I regret wishing my life away. 

I’m not 14 sitting at my computer in my dining room finishing digital work during COVID-19. I’m now 17 and finished my last Sociology test of the year. However, every school year felt never ending. Freshman year was centered around COVID, sophomore year going back to “normal”, junior year—the most stressful—and now my final year. I started to realize how fast time was flying by and started living in the past. I took for granted each memory I had been making because I feared nothing could feel as good as the past. Turns out I was wrong. 

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Freshman year, if I could use one word to describe each day, I’d use “anxiety”. I was so afraid of everyone’s judgments about me. On my 15th birthday, I wished to be a senior. I viewed them as role models. Everyone was so happy it seemed. I saw how well everyone got along and overheard conversations about how fast their senior year was going by. I walked past each classroom and examined the seniors’ classes. They’d all been smiling at their teachers’ funny comments, laughing with each other in class, I wished to not have social anxiety. 

Sophomore year, I experienced my first relationship. I was down to two close friendships, meaning I was able to spend equal time between them. I’d say this year was the official year I felt an ounce of worry in my mental health. I had previously thought others over-exaggerated their lack of motivation skills. I started feeling unmotivated to complete my work, to go  to my three-hour shift and, as simple as it sounds, to leave my bed. I sat in the same desks each day only thinking back to my memories. I struggled to focus with every happy or devastating thought I had. Either I was wishing to go back to a certain weekend, or I was wishing for the next day to come faster. 

Being young and dumb, I realized I wasn’t ready for a relationship, no matter how healthy it had been. I lost most of my friends due to the instability of the relationship and my friends. Being alone resulted in one thing:I had too much time to worry about the relationship, my actions, my decisions. I was down to one person, my best friend. She knew every detail about me, we were in the same position when it came to wishing for the future. We fantasized about our senior year, getting our licence, and graduating. 

Junior year, the year everyone defines as “the hardest year”. I fell into my darkest state of mind, I was stressed with work, I’d recently totaled my car, and I didn’t like staying home all night. I felt the need to always be surrounded with people. I enjoyed hearing others laugh, even if that meant I’d be putting my feelings last. My mental health worsened throughout the year due to spending so much time around people. My friends relied on me to always be the smile I put back on their face, until one day I didn’t have enough energy, and I started to become useless. After distancing myself, I stayed home every night, I binged shows, I ate when I was bored, and I walked into school by myself. My grandma picked me up each day at lunch. She always knew what was going on. She mainly focused on talking about subjects that would distract me from my friendships. Just because I lost those friendships didn’t mean my life wasn’t worth living, I still smiled, even if it was once a day. 

 Senior Year, the last 180 days I’d have to walk through Oshkosh North’s hallways. I walked into this year with pure intentions. I’ve completed almost all semesters of high school, but my life didn’t play out the way I dreamed of. I didn’t have the same laughs as I saw others have during my freshman year. I was mentally tired. After going through every worst moment, I realized what defined me was my past. I focused on the past every day. In each class I reminisced about a different memory only to realize I was the one making these memories. Without moving in time, I wouldn’t have memories to look back on. My main focus was making my life as fun as I could. I wanted to have the craziest stories to keep my friends and nail tech entertained because, after sharing them, I felt closure of the memory and was at peace with moving on to new memories. 

High school has prepared us whether we come to the conclusion of it or not. It has. Looking back at freshman year we were young teens trying to navigate classes on the top floor, and now we are seniors trying to navigate the world. How the times changed in four years, how we changed. 

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    Natalie GrayMay 15, 2024 at 4:55 pm

    I love this so much!!! Go Savannah!!! Best of luck with your future! You got this!