05/17/2013 05:29 pm ET Updated Jul 17, 2013

Contrary To What M.I.A. Says, We Probably Shouldn't Live Fast

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One of my good friends snags me up at lunch. "Marlee," he says with a pleading undertone, "will you please be so lovely as to film my promposal?" I am in a daze from my last class and a tad puzzled, but I still manage to detect the growing urgency in his voice -- he's been planning for this particular day over the past few weeks. Understandingly, I grab the straps of a DSLR he quickly offers me. As a yearbook student teaches me how to record video (something I am woefully bad at on a Nikon), he pats me on the head and scurries off, barefoot and dressed in our swim team's navy tracksuit.

A throng of students encloses a lunch table that has been dragged into the middle of the hallway. Whispers inundate the corridor as my friend's prom date approaches, and the air is flooded with an almost syrupy tension. In plain sight, he pulls a stunt that is tastefully risqué: ripping off his tracksuit, he's left only in a pair of neon Speedo drag shorts. As he lies down on the lunch table bench, five other swimmer boys assemble themselves in the background, each holding a piece of brightly colored construction paper that, of course, spell out "P-R-O-M-?" 

After a few slow minutes, my friend's date peeks out from a corner and surveys the crowd quietly. As she takes a few steps out, the edges of her silhouette flood with light. She grins, advancing towards him. Without hesitation, she nods "yes" in response to his question.

A while later, my brain's philosophical mode switches on: how often in your life does something like this happen, especially on this large of a scale? Promposals are exciting, even if they are really corny. They become quasi-competitions fueled by creativity, testosterone, and the occasional hint of amorous love. Speaking honestly, this makes them a bit of a rarity. In your later years, this may be what you'll be sharing with your kids. (Imagining it makes me feel a little bit uneasy: "Mom, can you tell your senior year promposal story again? Please?")

Reality hits me like a freight train. What have I been doing for the past four years of my life? My "tunnel vision" mentality has taken me on a detour past the bubbling excitement of promposals, community service trips to foreign countries, outings with friends, and practically any other important event from my freshman to senior years. I've rarely taken the time to revel in these types of experiences, and I definitely do not have the opportunity to relive them. I hate admitting it, but I've made a grave mistake. Goodbye high school, my years of being an adult (shudder) are approaching rapidly!  

If you're a future freshman or an underclassman, what follows is my advice to you. Yes, the "high school years" are saturated with stress (and an impending sense of doom during exam season), but that doesn't mean you can't earn something out of all the time you'll spend there. Look past what's bugging you, whether it's the girl in P.E. who takes the gymnastics unit way too seriously, or if it's the varsity basketball player who is constantly resting his arm on top of your head. High school may not be the best four years of your life, unsurprisingly.

Nevertheless, it is influential to you individually, affecting everything from your future lifestyle to the people you'd seek out first in a crowd. Learn to not be timid, and start conversations with people who captivate you. Develop a daring and confident edge to your personality, and you'll find that people will gravitate towards you. Avoid being overly ostentatious. Most importantly, keep a close check on your life's pace. When you're constantly waiting for the future to arrive, you'll miss the flurry of events and emotions that are taking place around you.