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How Life Gets Better After High School

How Life Gets Better After High School

Does life really get better after high school?

Sometimes adult life does feel like high school (yes, bullies and mean girls still exist), but it’s nowhere near as bad as high school.

When you’re in high school, everything is a big deal.

Gossip spreads quickly, embarrassing situations seem like the end of the world, and I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t wait to get the heck out of high school.

Looking back now, things weren’t really all that bad, but as a young, emotional teen trapped in the world of high school, you bet every goddamn thing hurt.

Growing up in the age of social media

I was in high school during a time when social media was exploding.

Tumblr was the hot thing, and with it came a whole bunch of other websites ( and where people could say and ask anonymous things.

All throughout middle school, people made fun of me for my looks and for being “ugly”.

So, in high school, I completely covered my face with makeup to hide my insecurities.

Grade 9
How I did my makeup and dressed in grade 9.

Wearing the amount of makeup I did, I was endlessly and anonymously shamed for it.

I was called a cake-face, a slut, a whore.

Girls hissed slurs at me as I walked by.

I was pushed, shoved, tripped, and name-called by a group of boys almost everyday that I walked by them (for all 4 years of high school).

The one time I ran into the vice principal’s office crying, she asked if they had touched me anywhere inappropriate.

Because they hadn’t, she just told me to start walking through a different door instead.

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Mental health shouldn’t be stigmatized

My entire high school life, it felt like I was constantly having to look over my shoulder.

People smiled to my face, only for me to find out later they were calling me an “ugly slut” behind my back.

I was constantly getting anonymous messages online telling me to off myself.

I put on a brave face and acted like things didn’t hurt me, but deep inside I was screaming for help.

Mental health wasn’t really a ~thing~ back then, and even my closest friends found it uncomfortable when I tried to talk to them about my mental health problems.

I cried to one of my high school boyfriends about my mental health on the phone, and the next day I found a chat with his friend saying how he wanted me to shut up and how he just wanted to hang up and watch TV.

A year after we broke up, my best friend at the time secretly started dating him, knowing I still had feelings for him.

She proceeded to tell me every unnecessary detail about their relationship after I told her I forgave her.

It got to a point where I felt like anyone who came into my life would eventually hurt me at some point – it was like a constant ticking time bomb.

Anonymous Tumblr message
Anonymous Tumblr message

By the time I was in my last year of high school, things were really hard.

I drove out during lunch everyday or ate inside bathroom stalls so I wouldn’t have to face anyone.

Since I had to drive my younger brother home everyday and he liked to hang out with his friends, I had to sit in the parking lot and see all the people who had hurt or bullied me every single day.

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Everyday, I got into a deeper depression.

And then graduation came, and it was one of the best moments of my life.

Does life get better after high school?

Because I didn’t really have friends in grade 12, the only thing I had to focus on was school.

I was one of 150 people to get into the school of my dreams – Media Production at Ryerson University, the top media program in the country.

I graduated from Ryerson, got to work at some pretty cool places, and now run my own business.

I still don’t have many friends, but the friends I have are gosh dang great – the friends for life type of people.

I’ve found the love of my life, and I’m blessed to have an incredibly supportive and loving family.

Ryerson Radio and Television Convocation Ceremony 2017
At my Ryerson convocation ceremony.

It’s okay to not be okay

Honestly, I fell in and out of depression even after high school.

I developed social anxiety and started getting panic attacks, and was in one of my darkest places at the end of university since high school.

I’ve even been bullied in my adult life, but I’m better able to cope with it now than I could as a teenager.

Life has gotten significantly better and it continues to get better, and I haven’t had a panic attack since I graduated university 4 years ago.

Whatever you’re going through, whatever situation you’re in, you can make it better for yourself.

If the people in your life hurt you, cut them loose.

If you’re unhappy being on social media, start unfollowing people.

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And if you feel like you can’t talk to anyone, talk to a professional.

You can find mental health resources from the Canadian Mental Health Association or City of Toronto websites.

Mental health resources in Toronto:

  • If in a crisis, visit your local emergency department or call 911
  • If you need someone to talk to, call the Toronto Distress Centres at (416) 408-4357 or 408-HELP
  • You can also call the Gerstein Centre at (416) 929-5200
  • For youth, call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868

High school feels like forever ago, but having been out of it for 8 years now, it now seems completely insignificant.

It gave me tough skin, which made me who I am today.

I’m so happy that mental health is being talked about more now – it’s really difficult to suffer alone, and it’s important to remember that no one is truly alone.

Many people are struggling in similar situations as you are, or feeling the same way you are – never feel like you’re alone.

I’m so very grateful to have my life today, and to be taking the reigns and making it into what I want it to be.

Here are some other great things about life after high school:

  • You can choose the friends you spend time with, rather than being stuck with people you just happen to see everyday
  • No one cares about your grades – just if you can do your job
  • You get to choose how you live your own life

It all gets better after high school, my friends.

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How did you feel about high school? Did life get better for you after high school, or college/university? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!

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Jessica Lam | Toronto lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and travel blogger | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Canadian lifestyle blog

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Friday 29th of January 2021

Thank you for sharing your story! It takes a lot of strength to look back on the tough times. Even to this day(9 years later for me), thinking about high school still makes me very uncomfortable.

Jessica Lam

Saturday 30th of January 2021

It is tough looking back, but it's also great being able to see how far you've come. Sending all the best to you!