Thursday, June 14, 2007

a question.

Did anyone out there actually enjoy high school? (junior high, elementary...)


ravaj said...

my father used to tell people that when the high school principal gave a tour to prospective parents, she would say something like, "...and here is the great hall, which seats x hundred people. note the magnificent pipe organ behind the dais, and there is ravaj asleep in the corner in the back. we move now to ... " etc.

elementary school was much better. since i could read before kindergarten, when the lessons were boring they sent me to the school library to read. it wasn't long before i realised that nobody knew where i was, therefore i could go anywhere i wanted. i walked out of school. but when you are 9 and have no cash, what can you do in the city during the day? geek that i am, i went to the big library across the road and snuck into the adult section.

the best thing about school was that it stopped me having to go out and get a job.

Elizabeth McClung said...

No: Elementary school I used to stay inside in 4th grade and play chess with the vice principal for my own protection (Note that I had just moved to LA from Canada - Ahhh, those public school LA days).

Then I developed really bad vision and had glasses so thick they hit my face at the edge - you know how my "cool" rating went. Also my parents were on a "everything is bad" trip for about 7 years so I went to school with wheat germ and natural peanut spread sandwiches on homemade whole grain bread. Yeah! And they put me in religious school so all my teachers hated me. If you think asking really intellegent questions makes other kids hate you, try doing it in bible class - wow did my teachers hate me (our school didn't have science classes as "God made it" was the reason we didn't need biology, chemistry, geology, etc).

A White Bear said...

High school was a blessing, actually, after completely miserable experiences in elementary and middle school. Part of it was that I was deeply depressed as a kid and somehow the puberty hormones straightened me out while they fucked everyone else up. The other part was that the kids I met upon moving to the area at 8 were unbelievably cruel to anyone they saw as "ugly." I don't think I had a name other than "Fatso" or "Four-Eyed Lesbian" until I was 13, and, looking back, it's not like I was totally hideous. But the other kids acted like it was a moral failure of mine to be something other than aesthetically pleasing to them at all times. (I wonder where they learned that?) Surprise of surprises, in high school everyone seemed to start to figure out that some human beings were not 90 pounds with lustrous frizzless hair, and it wasn't that they were doing it out of spite. I didn't get laid or anything, but I did have a lot of friends and very rewarding experiences in classes and extracurriculars.

Why the reminiscence?

Rootietoot said...

In general, no. It had it's moments of fun, but over Junior High did NOT have it's moments of fun. It was unmitigated hell. I had the temerity to be smarter than everyone else, which automatically made me ugly, which, like White Bear said, I did on purpose just to offend them. The best thing that ever happened to me was moving the summer after 11th grade. My senior year was full of dates and fun and football players who thought I was cute.


Renegade Evolution said...

senior year...thats it

Meredith said...

Elementary and middle school were complete hell for me. I actually enjoyed high school, especially my junior and senior years, because I was in the International Baccalaureate program, so for the first time I wasn't entirely bored out of my mind, and my very large public high school (3000 kids) provided some cover for me. I was able to meet like-minded people (I met my friends who led me to feminism!) and I actually had friends and fun, and quite a few boyfriends. So, rigorous academics and large school for the win in my case.

Sassywho said...

grade school didn't suck, boring yes. middle school was when i found my social wings and although still boring i was able to cause enough trouble to make it interesting.

i didn't make it more than 2 weeks of high school.... not so much because of the students as much as the authoritarian freak show of it... and school assemblies... what a waste of time.

Moira said...

I went to a very small boarding school in British Columbia. It was better than being at home; I got hit a whole lot less. And I learned to play Quarters at the world master-class level, which gave me a big head start on college. There are some pretty good stories from then too, so yeah, I liked high school pretty well.

Roy said...

I loathed almost all of my schooling. I had fun my last year of high school, and that was it. I was a huge geek/dork/loser from first grade through roughly 10th grade/11th grade. I'm not sure what happened, but at some point around there, I became cool. I wasn't one of The Cool Kids, but I became pretty popular in that a lot of people knew me and were happy to see me and didn't want to pick on me or push me around anymore. Looking back, I think that part of that came from my giving up. Which is weird. I'd tried to be cool and not get picked on for a long time, and finally I just sort of threw my hands and said "Fuck it" and started doing my own thing. For whatever reason, that seemed to be enough to make people back off and see me differently.

The problem was that, after 10 or so years of being picked on and pushed around, I couldn't get used to people being nice to me. I found myself not trusting people who were being nice, and wondering why they were being that way.

The good times I had my last year were more about the activities I did and the fact that I didn't have any really stupid, required classes, but all fun classes like art and AP English.

Jen in Ohio said...

I rarely enjoyed the school part because Miami public schools sucked even back then (I was also one of the class brainiacs but was never socially ostracized), and living with my mom always pretty much sucked too, but the summer after sophomore year I got a driver's license, a car and a girlfriend with a wild streak, so that part kicked a whole bunch of ass.

Then the following year my mom found out I was queer and threw me out, and threw such a fit over it in general, that the best route for me was GED so I could go to work.

queen emily said...

Oh my god I hated high school so much. I was smart, and so obviously gender/queer to everyone except myself. Needless to say, I got beat up a LOT.

Alon Levy said...

Well, elementary and middle school were basically a religious plot to show me a teaser of hell so that I'd believe, and I'm convinced that high school would've been, too. Even college bored me to tears until the last year. And it wasn't just the social element, though it was always present; K-12 schooling is just mind-numbing.

midwesterntransport said...

high school was alright for me. i certainly wouldn't want to rePEAT the experience - all that self-consciousness and all that waiting for the good stuff - but i had a good group of friends and a great relationship with my theatre director.

then again, no one in my family led me to believe that high school was anything but something to get through on your way to college. they told me that college was where i would hit my stride.

my school was also super tiny. there were only 27 people in my senior class.

Sabrina Star said...

Not even the least little bit.

antiprincess said...

Elementary school I dug. The first, say three or four years.

around fifth grade things started to turn sour, like a glass of milk left out in the sun. not sure why, really.

I developed a math issue around then. may be that had something to do with it.

but it was really all downhill from there.

Jeff Pack said...

I feel like I could have enjoyed high school (and middle school, and college, and law school) a lot more if I'd had about two or three years more perspective. I didn't get bullied much after about grade 7 or so, but being immature and shy and self-conscious about my looks and intelligence made me regard myself as a social pariah, and that made me miserable because what I craved most was acceptance (in the shallow "I want to be one of the popular kids" way).

Thing is, my real problem *wasn't* being too smart or even too shy, it was being clueless about what I wanted. I was stepping on the people who would have made interesting and good friends because they weren't popular either, and I wanted to get invited to the same parties as the homecoming queen.

prosphoros said...

High school was the worst. I haven't been as consistently miserable for so long a period of time since. The stark lessons of the conditionality of love also carrying over to acceptance, not being harassed, or just being considered human were daily reinforced. I liked the learning, valued the exposure to diversity (cultural: my school was a regional ESL magnet), but was often bored, excluded, and/or mocked for not fitting.

WordK said...

I don't remember elementary being too awfully bad, but it wasn't the greatest. I was definitely the weird kid before kindergarten got out.

Junior high and the first two years of high school were a nightmare.

But the last two years of high school weren't bad at all. I got a much needed boost of confidence, and I became more outspoken and perhaps stranger, but I was also in with a basically good group of kids, so I wasn't a pariah. Eccentric, but not too wierd to talk to. (Incidentally, I went to a K-12 unit school, so over half of my graduating class was also in my kindergarten class. There were all of 35 of us.) We also had some great teachers who facilitated, but also controlled, good classroom discussion. So, overall, the last two years of high school weren't bad at all, and the school was really the only place where I wasn't being judged every minute.

verte said...

It was okay. The school was fantastic and very academic, so I was never bored or unchallenged, but I'm not sure it was quite right for me, and I spent most of my time there feeling really miserable and scared and stupid because I wasn't an all-rounder (I have no maths or science skillz at all), though I'm not quite sure why. I would have preferred to go a co-ed school, I think. My year were kind of geeky and well-behaved in comparison to most, so it could have been so much worse. I did enjoy the penultimate year, mostly, and probably would have enjoyed the last one if I hadn't had my first proper bout of depression/anxiety and hadn't had to take a couple of months off.

There are some US terms I'm unsure of here. How old are you when you go to high school? We just have primary schools (up to 11), and then high school is mostly 11-16, although at my school everyone did A-Levels and stayed til they were 18, and there are also separate sixth form colleges, where you can do your final two years instead. There are some old-fashioned eccentric terms in some schools. We always had 'lower sixth and upper sixth' (which were your final two years of high school), though that's been phased out almost everywhere (except at Eton, perhaps...). Does this stuff feature in private schools in the states?

Winter said...

No, it was an extremely abusive experience which permenently damaged my education, as it happens.

belledame222 said...


I dunno. Someone was talking about having gone to a high school reunion and having enjoyed it, and having had pleasant memories of the place itself, recently, I think--I was just so boggled by the very notion.

I was looking at my high school yearbook and remembered that my quote was

"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."

In the original Italian, for extra smarminess.

If that gives you an idea.

belledame222 said...

verte: not that I know of.

Amber said...

I liked *some* of high school. In 11th grade I transferred to a new school; that's when it started not being a daily grind of emotional abuse and boundary-violations every day.

Winter said...

Primary teaching so appalling that it set me back and made me resistant to learning. Plus bullying so bad that I was off secondary school a lot with illness and stress which then meant I never really made up the classes I missed.

Amber said...

There are some US terms I'm unsure of here. How old are you when you go to high school? We just have primary schools (up to 11), and then high school is mostly 11-16, although at my school everyone did A-Levels and stayed til they were 18, and there are also separate sixth form colleges, where you can do your final two years instead. There are some old-fashioned eccentric terms in some schools. We always had 'lower sixth and upper sixth' (which were your final two years of high school), though that's been phased out almost everywhere (except at Eton, perhaps...). Does this stuff feature in private schools in the states?

We have elementary school, middle school, and high school. Elementary is typically kindergarten through fifth grade, which corresponds to 5 - 10 years old. Some elementary schools include sixth grade.

Middle school is usually sixth through eighth grade, or 11 to 13 years old. Some middle schools are just seventh and eighth grade.

High school is ninth through twelfth grade, 14 to 17 years old.

Depending on where your birthday falls, the ages can be one year higher for each of these. I graduated high school when I was 18, for example.

The grades are the same regardless of public or private school.

I don't know about other states, but in Georgia, you can choose to leave school at age 16. Prior to that, it's mandatory.

Veronica said...

I sort of liked middle school, I guess.

Amber said...

Junior High did NOT have it's moments of fun. It was unmitigated hell. I had the temerity to be smarter than everyone else, which automatically made me ugly, which, like White Bear said, I did on purpose just to offend them.

Yep, same here.

I still haven't gotten over a lot of the shit I went through in middle school. It's better, thanks to years of therapy; but I'm not sure if I'll ever compeltely get over it. (Inasmuch as anyone can ever "get over" stuff.)

Madeline said...

Middle school was by far the worst. Parts of elementary school were good; parts of high school were tolerable. But middle school is cruel to everyone.

In reflection high school was mostly okay because everyone just assumed I was a lesbian (since I was the president of our gay-straight alliance) and that I had other people to hang out with and mostly left me alone. Which was fine by me.

madeline said...

To add to Amber's comment --

You can also go to "junior high school" instead of "middle school." Typically junior high is 7th through 9th grade. Some high schools are only 10th through 12th grade to connect with those junior highs. Other than the grade differenes (6th through 8th versus 7th through 9th) junior high and middle school are the same thing.

In California, I seem to remember that you could leave school when you were 15. That was also the age you could get a work permit and could get emancipated from your parents. However, it's generally considered an astoundingly bad idea to leave school unless you plan on getting your GED (a certificate that says that you've been educated through 12th grade, even though you don't have a high school diploma) because most employers want you to have a high school degree at least.

UneFemmePlusCourageuse said...

Elementary school was hell, I was 'educated' in a tiny school in a tiny town filled with snobby, hypocritical idiots. I cannot stress this enough. Nearly EVERYONE was wealthy (as was I) and they all seemed to have the same idea as to what it took to 'fit in'. I did not. I was strange, and smart, and the only friend I made was also smart AND Canadian (hence, another outsider).
Middle school was slightly better, since I tried to disguise a bit of the weirdness, BUT by then I was slightly disillusioned and wary of ANYONE who seemed too concerned with 'normalcy'/'fitting in', which made me at least one enemy.

High school was fine for the first year and a half. I had friends who were as odd/odder than I was, and could therefore do whatever the fuck I wanted. Then I started dating The Evil Ex and was summarily categorized as a 'whore/slut/hooch' by my peers owing to the fact that I was a weird girl in a relationship with an equally weird guy. This made me VERY angry, as during most of this I was actually still a virgin. That reputation carried through until about March of my senior year when I wrote a poem about these things for English class AFTER the breakup. No more whore talk. And the rest of my senior year was pretty damn good, even if my 'high school best friend' had started DATING the Evil Ex.

roro said...

My mother tells me that near the end of elementary school, some of the girls were being mean to me. Apparently, I didn't notice. I think she was projecting. In any event, I got sent to a different junior high school where I knew no one and there, over the course of three years, I was lucky enough to build my own little band of freaks and geeks. Amazingly, 14 years since we graduated high school and I'm still friends with all of those girls. But seriously - lucky.

Moira said...

Grades 2 through 7 sucked for me. I was skinny, fey, femme, quiet, bookish, and had big glasses. Allegedly a boy though not very good at it. In Texas.

I'll leave the results of that as an exercise for the reader.

Donna Darko said...

loved elementary school and junior high school because i was "number one" then resented high school because i moved down to 18 or something. lameass "model minority" tale.

Amy said...

I've had a mix of good and bad.
The last two years of my old school were shit. But I don't know...I think that could also have been cos I had shite self esteem, so some of it was external.
First term and a half of sixth form, also largely shit.
It's getting better though.
Damn exams! Damn 'em to hell. Am not looking forward to results day :( That will probably not be a high light of my educational career! Shoulda revised more, spent less time damn blogging! Ha!

ArrogantWorm said...

Depends on your definition of enjoy. Elementary school was meh at best, and the library was too small and the reading material wasn't up to my expectations. There was the whole looks deal, of which my classmates concluded there were several problems. Junior high/middle school was a horrible affair whose only redeeming quality was that I got to give a good smack to one of the asses that was picking on me, and I didn't get in trouble for it for that reason. I'd say I enjoyed a year and a half of high school, and I use some of that word very loosely. That's it. Got picked on about my looks (scars, mainly. Also had a horrible acne problem for awhile there) behavior, gender presentation, class, lack of social skills, list goes on. But there was a brief interlude in ninth grade when I got a permanent friend, it was odd. First health class of the first day of the year in a new school, teacher said to form groups of five, and a girl snatched me up and carted me away to her group. Twas the beginning of a beautiful friendship, till I had to move again. And she taught some social skills! She was grand.

Although it turned out I didn't like the presentation of either of the graduating diplomas from elementary or high school. Both times they told me to smile. Who the hell wants to be reprimanded on videotape for the rest of eternity for everyone to see. I think I might have managed a grimace for the second one, but I really don't want to remember.

School was horrid.

Wait, except for the candied dots in elementary school, and getting out of some of the classes. That wasn't too bad. But the rest? Complete suckage.

ataralas said...

High school wasn't perfect, but it was pretty good. I'd say that I enjoyed it, but that I was ready to move on when I graduated. I had, with a few exceptions, excellent teachers, supportive mentors, and great friends. Some of the other students occasionally gave me shit for being smart/queer/outspoken, but my group of weirdo friends was big enough, queer enough, and loud enough that they didn't dare mess with any of us too much. And the administration liked us, so that helped. The suckiest part was having to deal with the massive, massive entitlement that pervaded my entire school, especially the parents. Then again, I did go to private school in one of the richest areas of the nation.

Middle school sucked irredeemably. Full stop, end of discussion.

Elementary school was only as good as the teacher I had, which in some cases was GREAT, and in some cases was TERRIBLE. So it was more of a mixed bag. I was a social outcast, but didn't care as much.

And Verte: Yes, in some of the uppercrust, East Coast US private schools (Andover, Exeter, Choate, etc) there are bizarre names for the grades that are holdovers from past times/wanting to be English.

Alex said...

I loved high school. There were bad moments, but it was MILES better than middle school, and even to some extent elementary school. There were NERDS there, and GEEKS, and no one CARED that we were nerds/geeks.

Rebecca said...

It really varied for me.

The first eighteen months were an absolute nightmare; I was bullied so badly (coming off more bullying in primary school) that I had to be pulled out of school at fourteen because I was on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

The next eighteen months were wonderful. I did school by correspondence from home, and really enjoyed the experience. Moreover, I met a bunch of fantastic people through it, without whom I don't think I'd have been able to come out, or heal the damage that had been done beforehand.

The last three years, back at school again, were miserable, if bearable. One thing, though - the support I got (this was a private school, instead of the hellhole public school I started in) allowed me to somehow keep my marks high enough to get into law school when I was seriously running off the rails in all other aspects of life due to my trans-related depression. For that, I'll be forever grateful.

David Thompson said...

First year or so of high school, not so much. Last two and half or so I actually did enjoy, enough that I was and am rather ambivalent about graduating. Not coincidentally, that was the same time I became the person I am now instead of the person I was when I was young.

Matt said...

Sorry for being late, but I just discovered your blog. I loved elementary, middle, and high school. My sisters weren't particularly fond of pre-college education, so I completely understand the sentiment. I went to public schools first, and then an exclusive private school. I always had plenty of friends, got into lots of trouble, and got into a good school. I have no regrets about any of it, nor do I wish I could re-experience high school with my newfound maturity. It all made me who I am now.