Life so Far

I was born on March 23, 2001, putting me at 16 years old as of this post. Fast forward 5 years and countless embarrassing stories, I started Kindergarten at St. Joseph's School in downtown Salem. Side note: they say that high school is "the best years of your life," but how many times have I gotten to build block towers? Didn't think so. Anyways, I stayed there from K to 5th grade before I started my public school career.

And holy expletive was it a big change! Private school had a specific ability to shelter kids from how the real world worked, where they block out how perceptions shaped people for the better and rather went Stalin on whoever wanted to voice their opinion. In retrospect, it probably took me the whole three years I was at Judson to finally learn how to dress -- please don't open the yearbook! I rebuilt my friend groups, played sports, started Parkour, and just had a whole lot of fun in my own claimed sector of the world during that timeframe. I will forever believe that Judson is the best middle school in the SKPS District with no doubt in my mind.

Freshman year of 2015-16 happened at South High at was also the year that I moved. I played football for my second (and final) year -- I never said I was good! In hindsight I never really cared for my skill level so much as I did for the team's bond and grind to become the best. Unfortunately-not-so- unfortunately Sprague edged us out in that grind. When I moved, however, things got a whole lot harder when a bus route to South didn't exist in the middle of nowhere. Each day I spent a while at friends' houses until my dad got off work to drive me back, so I just hope that I was a good house guest. Perhaps it's one of those things where you look back and cringe into a raisin; I'm not sure. I ultimately decided it was too much a hassle and just move Sprague.

I'm glad I had a solid, albeit rusty, foundation for yet more friend groups. This time was a whole lot less jarring transition because private school wasn't pulling the wool over my eyes, and some of my really great friends from South had to jump ship along with me. I don't remember a whole lot from Sophomore year except for how much better Sprague was and how adept I was at chemistry. Election year and a few well-versed friends in politics got me to take a 180-degree turn from nievety to having a brain, but literally NO ONE wants to get into that mess. Another side note -- That election and it's idiotic protests got me to take AP Gov this year, and although I'm a ton more well versed in the political world now than I was last year, the divisiveness of it all has left a really bitter taste in my mouth. We all may as well keep track of holidays ruined by alcohol and politics. My favorite class last year had to be weights because I found out I really loved the feeling of pushing myself to become stronger both physically and mentally (and hopefully the ladies did too!).

So, that brings us to present day, at 10:11 PM, on the night before this whole thing's due. I'm really challenging myself in my classes and to grow into the best version of myself. So far, so good as I wrap us semester 1 of Junior year. I'm having fun so far and I'm really optimistic about the future, especially because I've been swimming through the hardest year of high school. If I could give advice to anyone reading this, and too bad because I can, I'd simply say to smile more. Smile at someone who's been having a rough day and they'll reflect it back to you and five other people. I think I'll wrap this up here, but this story is FAR from over.

We make our own futures,

Eric Stratman