Two years ago, I was told that three of my best friends from middle school were going to leave, meaning I had to start my high school journey almost entirely alone. I was losing some of the most amazing people I had ever met. The end of my eighth grade year, which was supposed to be a celebration of finally being freed from the constraints of childhood, ultimately grew to become an end to multiple significant friendships I had experienced throughout my life. Sitting on the stained, old couch in my living room, worn out from online school, I thought about all the hypothetical situations that could occur when we finally would go back to the building: Having nobody to talk to in class, eating lunch alone. Even worse, I kept thinking how because of health and safety precautions, it would be even more difficult to meet new people during the summer.
Walking into the high school on my first day, the hallways seemed outrageously crowded and labyrinthine. I walked with my older sister, who was familiar with the school’s layout, to try and find the classroom numbers located on my schedule. While strolling, my sister came across many of her friends, keeping conversation with them while I walked silently next to them awkwardly. Whenever I asked my sister for directions to a classroom, she would respond with a quick “I don’t know.” I truly felt like I wasn’t a part of anything. I had nobody to walk with. I was all alone.
Throughout the months I’ve been in school, I have had to hold onto beliefs of independence, autonomy, and self-reliance as I had learned them through online school and lockdowns, but it has been very hard to cling onto such beliefs when contrasted with the intimacies I yearn for. Now, instead of asking my friends for homework answers, I do them all myself. Instead of persuading my friends to tell me what the quiz questions were, I study hard and do well through my own efforts.
Maybe by confronting the loneliness I had always been afraid of, I was able to learn the capability to make my own happiness. Maybe.