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Getting on different track can sure change life

Growing up we all had different hopes and dreams and ideas of who we were going to be when we grew up. For me, it changed on a frequent basis, but I always wanted to be known as a good person who helped people, and I always wanted to grow up to have a family, kids and a wife, so I could be an awesome father, just like my dad.

I remember at first I wanted to be a police officer, and that changed to a doctor and then to a teacher. I've had a desire to be a teacher since I was in middle school. And for the longest time that idea stuck with me, but I guess I don't really know anymore, I still have a desire to be an educator, but I'm also looking at being a journalist.

I think the biggest goal I had as a child was to finish high school, though, and get a diploma, because none of my siblings have yet to do so, and as of now I haven't really been on the right track to do that.

It's crazy how we can have such big ambitions at a young age, and how quickly we can be pulled on the wrong track, and stray away from the people we always wanted to be, and that's my story.

It all kind of started in middle school. Up until eighth grade, I was a straight A student, who was always really good at anything school related. I was smart enough to the point where I barely even had to apply myself to be successful in the classroom, but as I got into eighth grade, things started to change drastically.

I started getting bullied, profusely, but it wasn't just by the general population -- the worst of it came from the people who I called my friends. It was so bad that rumors could fly around school about you, just for talking to me.

I ended up missing 75 days of school that year, for no reason except I would have vicious panic attacks as soon as I woke up in the morning, because I was so scared to go to school.

I managed to squeak through the eighth grade, but high school didn't start off any better for me. My attendance was better, and my grades were better, but that desire to be accepted, by anyone, over came me. I passed ninth grade, and ended it with two people I called friends. I felt horrible inside.

Tenth grade came around, and it was the same story -- no one wanted anything to do with me, and that's when I started experimenting with drugs.

I tried them, and I liked them. They numbed the feelings of despair in my head, and with drugs came the users, who accepted me and quickly became the group known as my friends.

Looking back, I realize that none of us really had anything in common, except the fact we used together, and that was our fun.

By eleventh grade, everything I had spent my whole adolescence trying to achieve basically went down the toilet. I quit playing hockey, I basically quit playing baseball, my parents and I were barely on speaking terms, and my report cards consisted of straight F's.

I threw everything I had going for me, and everything I loved, away, just for drugs, and today I'm suffering the consequences, internally and externally.

I still have those same hopes and dreams, and goals, but I'm so far behind in school I don't even know if I'll get to graduate.

The drugs might be taken out of my life, but I still have to live with their consequences every day, and I don't think there's anything harder to deal with inside than that.

Jonah Bowe is a senior at Detroit Lakes High School.