The student news site of Dartmouth High School

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


“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.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Mackenzie Boucher
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.

Comments (1)

All The Spectrum Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • G

    GayleMar 8, 2024 at 5:17 pm

    This article is a great intro to a “problem” that is bigger today than ever…Social media projections and filters of success and beauty has provided the illusion that people in general peak faster and younger than ever before in time. There are too many factors in play that have gotten us to the point where we value “things” and “events” over people. In “my time” we still had sand lots and neighborhood sports (without trophies), I majored in hopscotch and slide in kindergarten, teachers were highly respected, and junior high (aka middle school) afforded a time to explore academics, military, craft skills or tech prowess. We have, in my opinion, continued on a path that has favored blaming, shaming, labeling, victims and survivors versus
    movers and shakers, olive branch givers and more hand outs than hand-ups… This yin and yang, yes and no, black and white needs to find a truce, a middle ground of acceptance and tolerance, healthy debates, a melding of art and science and realization that we all come from the Big Blue Marble. There is no perfect person or perfect life. Put down your phone, your pencil, your “pride” and open your eyes -all your senses-try something new or old. Somehow as we grow older we forget what it is like to be a child again when people said things like “no question is a stupid question” (and your friends did not laugh at you), or you took a nap under the stars, or took time to use your senses and smell the salt air or fresh cut grass…Somehow we go from a “that’s okay from our classmates” or I love you no matter what from Mom and Dad turned into a world of judges and naysayers
    whereby the pinnacle is six figures, sexy, McMansions, “Ivys”, Silicon Valley’s and bodies.
    Life is not a blood sport and it’s not to be worn, but is valued by YOU, by US. We will never see our obituary, epitaphs and eulogies, but I know “success” shall be left in our genes and hopes to leave the world a little better than we found it. May they say you/we are successful because we tried and we were kind and uplifting when doing so. We chose to say I am sorry at the right time and held a hand in silence when someone needed it most…Remember, don’t keep looking through the rear view mirror of. what is behind you, but what is before you in that big front windshield called LIFE… GS

Verified by MonsterInsights