Senior goodbye: Parking spot 100


Shae Daugherty

Senior Anna Stockton compares lessons she learned in high school with an unfortunate parking spot.

Editor’s Note: Senior goodbyes are student pieces that reflect on their past years in high school. These pieces take very different perspectives and the prompt was meant to be vague to inspire creativity.

Fueled by my gung-ho senior year attitude in August, I unknowingly made one of the worst decisions of my high school career. This choice haunts my dreams and leaves me with an intense feeling of aching regret. I look back at this moment and wish that I could just grab my past self by the shoulders and scream, “This is a terrible mistake.” I wish I could warn her about what was to come.

That day, I chose parking spot 100.

I know what you’re thinking. “Anna, you’re a pretty messy person– how could a parking spot possibly be your worst decision?” And you know what, that’s a very valid question to ask when you don’t have context, so please allow me to enlighten you on why my parking situation was so problematic.

Parking spot 100 is right next to a traffic island and directly under a tree, and with that comes numerous issues that grow more ridiculous and irritating over time.

Your car gets pelted with branches and leaves that get stuck in your windshield wipers. The ground gets covered in mud or pools up with water when it rains. When spring rolls around and the birds start nesting in the tree, your car gets a fresh coat of bird poop every morning. Sometimes even getting into your car at the end of the day is a gamble because the crows screeching overhead seem to think the hood is the very best possible place to set up shop–and they are willing to fight you for their right to sit there.

So yes, choosing parking spot 100 was, to this day, my most regrettable action that I could do absolutely nothing about. Sure, it was easy to complain about my issue and to occasionally ponder whether or not a bird-harassment lawsuit was plausible, but in the end I was stuck with it, and I had to find a way to get past my misfortune.

I think life in high school is a lot like parking in spot 100 (yes, I am making this stretch because if there’s anything I learned in high school, it’s that an extended metaphor always gets the job done). You go in with these expectations and cliches of how it’s going to be, yet for a period of time, high school can kind of suck, and there’s just about nothing you can do to avoid it.

So something has to change. Either you sit around and mope and have a miserable time, or you buck up and take on your four years here with determination and positivity.

Just by forcing yourself to think positively, you can slowly alter your perspective on life. Sure, it feels a little silly to pretend to be pumped about waking up early and going to school for eight hours, but “faking it ‘til you make it” actually works. Your friends, peers, and teachers will appreciate that there’s one less kid with a terrible attitude ghosting about the halls.

You’re here, you have to be here, and no amount of complaining or negativity is going to change that. Life in high school gets a whole lot better when you change your perspective and realize that it’s a buffer period–a transition between childhood into college. With this comes all the terrible and wonderful things that go along with growing up and maturing. It’s not all easy, and some days it can feel so impossibly difficult to put a smile on your face. But remember that you are not here forever. Soon enough, your four years will be up, and I promise you that looking back at them and realizing you wasted so much of it feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t feel too good.

So I learned to like some things about parking spot 100. There wasn’t a space to the left of me, so I could park as terribly as I wanted. The tree provided shade that kept my car fairly cool during the hotter weeks. I even made friends with the demon crows (well, not so much friends as much as a “if you stop diving at me every time I try to get into my car, I’ll stop throwing loose branches at you” kind of agreement).

You get as much out of your high school experience as you put into it. For every terrible moment, there is the opportunity for a great one. Keep your eyes set on the horizon, your spirits up, and never underestimate the cheer up ability of a pump-up playlist. In the end, your parking spot 100 is what you make of it.

Seriously though, spot 100 is the worst. Do not park there–you are going to regret it.