by Evelyn Melvin
Growing up in a small town, for some people, is a hassle beyond compare. I grew up in a small town myself, a little town called Eagle Rock. Of course when I mention this to anyone, they have no idea where that is. I always have to make sure to say, “Oh yeah, it’s about forty-five minutes from Roanoke, Virginia.” When I began going to high school, I realized why no one knew where I lived. My small town high school was in the middle of nowhere, and was about half the size of any other high school I had seen.
My first day, I never worried about not being able to find my classes, because they were all right there. No long hallways that lead to exits, no random “locker hallways,” none of that. It was a simple layout and I loved every minute of it.
As I got older the sense of wanting to be a part of something bigger, something bolder, always crossed my mind. I wondered if I would ever get out of the little town. As a senior in high school, I tend to find myself leaning toward the smaller colleges rather than the giant universities. I never knew exactly why I was like this until I realized what exactly that small town life had done to me. It had given me a comfort zone that was not easily given up.
I will never take for granted what this little school has taught me, but some people do. I am going to give you a little insight on what all comes with the “Small Town High School” package. So, as I move on, here are ten things you never knew about your small town high school life.
You will meet some of the closest friends you will ever have . No matter what you say or do, there is always that one friend you rely on for everything. I know I had one throughout my high school years. These friends you meet are the closest thing to a sister or brother you have, and you know this. You can meet friends anywhere you want: a grocery store, a 7/11 parking lot, or even a farm out back, but the friends that stamp your brain are the ones that you are with for four years. In a small school, people tend to know everything about a person, and this makes for amazing friends. Small schools bring out the best of friends and the worst, you just have to choose which one you’re willing to take on.
Everybody knows everyone. Now this can be a serious problem or a real blessing. In a small town, you don't have to worry about someone not knowing who you are talking about when you say “remember that time that Billy said … ?” Everyone already knows exactly what Billy you are referring to. This could be a problem, because of a little saying that states, “words travel fast in a small town.” You break your leg, guess what, everyone at school already knows about it. No secrets are kept if shared with the wrong people in a small town.
No matter what, you will have at least one relative in the same school. No matter how much you try to deny it, there will always be that cousin or sibling you see every day at school. Families tend to live close by and if you both live in a small town, well rude awakening, they are going to go to the only high school in a 100 mile radius. Like it or not, in a small town, no family space is given.
You will come to understand that those little classes, with only 20 people in them, are a blessing. You may think that having only 20 people in your class is annoying, and it can be. This allows you to learn faster and better. If you don’t understand something, and the rest of your class does, you only have to stop the class for 20 people instead of 100.
This high school will become a small comfort zone. You will begin to see that every big decision on outings you will make will revolve around how big or small it will be. If you go to a party, you’re going to feel slightly uncomfortable. This is all because of that small high school that you’ve grown up in. This school has become your comfort zone forever, unless you go to a big school and break one zone into the next.
You always see at least one person from your school while you’re out and about. No matter where you go, there will be one person you see. Whether it’s to the gas station, mall, or random restaurant right down the road from your school, there will always be someone you know doing the same things as you. This is just simply because in such a small place it is hard to go far far away to do something no one else is doing.
Making friends comes easy to you. You may think that you have been living in a small town all your life, and you still have trouble making friends. Believe it or not, most people at your high school are your friends, but maybe they are not your BEST friend. If you say hi to them in the hallway at all, once, twice, 200 times, they are your friends; you have more friends than you think. A small environment teaches you that you will forever be with these people, learn to live with them.
No one will ever know what school you are from, learn this, understand it, because it never goes away. You could literally state the exact coordinates of your school, and no one will even come close to knowing where that is. Trust me, they will never know. It is not going to change, live with that.
All of your classes will be on the same hallway or close by. As an incoming freshman, you are constantly afraid of being late, or not knowing where your classes are. In a small school almost all of your classes are close if not right in the same room as many others. This makes life easier for new students; this makes high school easier for anyone.
Last but not least, you will always come back to the memories you made here. Whether they are good or bad, one day you will be sitting in your home, and you will start to giggle at the little things you remember from your past. The times where you and your friends screamed your lungs out at a football game, kissing your significant other in the hallway before running to class so you aren’t late, or even arguing with your best friend over the stupidest of boys. These are the things you will remember, and these are the things that will stay with you forever. So do me and yourself a favor, and don’t take this little town school experience for granted.