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The Spectrum

The student news site of Dartmouth High School

The Spectrum

The student news site of Dartmouth High School

The Spectrum

Peaking in High School

Peaking+in+High+School
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“They all say that it gets better, but what if I don’t?” – “Teenage Dream,” Olivia Rodrigo

The person “who peaked in high school” is often referenced as a funny way to exploit the ridiculousness of the quarterback or the popular girl, who was the victor over high school, but hasn’t won anything since; so now they’re 27 and they still live with their parents and are serial Snapchatters. They listen to Noah Kahan, and drink over the one who got away (back in the 11th grade); they dropped out of the marine science program and now are in between jobs, but it’s ok because he still has his dad’s boat and that’s surely the equivalent to a bachelor’s in marine science.

Typically we don’t feel bad for these people.

Typically we don’t feel bad for these people. It’s the “just-world” hypothesis; you get what you deserve, but the sad reality is that anyone could peak in high school, anyone could peak at any time. This could be the best that it gets. I mean hindsight, I could’ve peaked in the fifth grade. Part of the pathetic nature of said character is trying to recover some part of them that was great in the past. It’s why Tom Buchannan is a man’s man. It’s like seeing a once popular actor trying to remind the media of their relevance by doing a cheap cash-grab film: it’s demoralizing. 

Can you avoid it? To a certain extent, avoiding peaking is like trying to avoid the sands of time, it’s inevitable. Part of the solution is to acknowledge the urge of mediocrity: to live a life where nothing happens. To never move on, to never change jobs, never change friends, never change mindset. It’s tempting to control as many variables in life as you can, especially when life has thrown you like a tornado that rips through your life every other month. 

But you need to grow up. As someone once said: life is not a perfect parabola. It’s easy to point out a period in your life when you were prettier, more passionate, smarter, and felt like a shadow of yourself, but most of that perception is the tendency to view the past with nostalgia. Yes, the guy who peaked in high school is a town character you avoid at all costs, not because he peaked, but because he never matured: he’s still trying to cling onto social status and youth.

To not be the guy who peaked in high school, you need to think introspectively; not in terms of goals and accolades. And remember, retirement is the goal. Who cares what 20s me is doing if I can retire at 65 and have nothing to do ever? The guy who peaked in high school will peak even more when he’s collecting social security and getting his meals fed to him by nursing home workers.

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About the Contributor
Mackenzie Boucher, Editor-in-Chief
Mackenzie is a senior at Dartmouth High School and Editor-in-Chief of the Spectrum Newspaper. She also is editor of the Literary Magazine and president of the DHS Debate Team. She loves winter and snow, so she hopes to move further north. Her favorite book is Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Her favorite jazz artists are Miles Davis and Ahmad Jamal. She is addicted to caffeine and loves black coffee and Watermelon Red Bull. She hopes to be a journalist in the future who specializes in research and long form journalism.

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