What I do and don’t miss about High School…

Being that graduations are in the air with new beginnings, and people either starting or finishing school of one level or another, I thought I’d ponder a little bit about my all girl Catholic high school days.

What I don’t miss about High School:

  • Running for that damn bus, and on the occasion missing it.  I had every last minute down to the wire, and I’m amazed I wasn’t late more than I was.
  • Saddle shoes.  Hated them.  Ugly. I don’t think I would even want to wear them in a costume.
  • Study hall.  Although many people did their homework here, and I did when I really had to, I thought it was a waste of time sitting in a quiet room for an entire period.  I took whatever opportunity I could to occupy my time volunteering anywhere that took me to some other location and distraction in the school.  I think being a gym aide was the most fun.
  • Packing a brown bag lunch to school every day.  Hated it.  I think I had either a turkey sandwich or a ham sandwich nearly my entire high school career.  Bananas a no go since they stunk up your locker for an infinity.  Egg salad same thing. Mom gave us some money for the week and it was up to us to choose what to do with it.  I usually just treated myself to regular ice cream or shakes and the occasional soup with my sandwich.  Or if our table was feeling really festive, we’d pool our cash and buy several orders of fries to create a mountain on our table to share.  And yes, even eating that junk, I had a well balanced diet and didn’t find any harm in these daily treats. Yum!
  • Having to carry all those books from class to class.  We were only allowed to visit our lockers before and after school and during your lunch period.  Of course if you were in the area you could try and risk it, but more often than not my locker was so out of the way it wasn’t worth scrambling to make it to class on time.
  • Hated wearing a uniform every day, mostly because it was a dress.  I used to abhor waiting for the bus and the good old 56 trolley during those cold winter days. On the days I could, I preferred to walk the 1 1/2 miles or so home–it was warmer! Never thought it was fair that the guys got to wear pants.  Finally I hear they are allowed to wear pants.  What took so long?
  • I hated the smell of formaldehyde in the science labs–but oddly enough I actually enjoyed the dissecting part of it.  The poor worm, fetal pig, frog and cow’s eyeball that were subjects probably didn’t like it too much 🙁 I always thought it was nothing short of amazing how things worked and to try and figure out the inner workings of all things living.

Things I missed about High School:

  • I had great fun joining all the clubs and getting to know some wonderful friends in the process.  What’s not to love about being on Forensics Team, working on the sets as the Stage Manager for the school shows, wearing proudly my Honor Society ribbons, and being a yearbook editor? Not sure if I’m missing any, but those are the biggies that I remember.  I just wish I was closer to school, or would have participated in more things when I was younger.  The thought of taking a bus home at night took most of the fun away.
  • One of the things that I really appreciated was the 10 silent minutes of reading every day during homeroom.  As weird as that sounds, it was terrific to escape from your day for a few minutes and pull out a book.  I don’t know that it made me love reading more, because I already loved to read, but I guess I liked the fact that it set aside time to focus on something that I wanted to read and not a textbook or some other required reading.
  • Wearing a uniform.  Yes, I know it’s in both categories.  But it was a love/hate relationship.  There is something to be said about not having to worry about ironing what you are wearing or figuring out what you were going to choose to wear that day.  Even though I enjoy representing my own sense of style in what I opt to put on each day, it can be awfully liberating that no one actually cares what you are wearing and you don’t have to put too much thought into it.
  • I really miss some of my teachers, even to this day.  Sadly, I don’t remember all of their names, but I know that I did develop some pretty close bonds with them after spending so much time with them, especially those that gave up their time to serve as moderators for kid’s activities.  A handful of them made me laugh and smile.  Even fewer really made me think deeply about the world we live in and life itself. Would definitely love to run into some of my favorites just to see what they are up to in their lives, and even to know if they are still teaching.
  • Another weird one, but I will never forget how clean my schools were.  You could always count on the floors having a highly polished shine–I swear that you could almost see yourself in the floor. It was always smelling of some kind of cleaner or another, too.  It was oddly comforting in a way, that it would not be dirty or have graffiti (other than the usual minor stuff on desks when kids are bored) mucking up the place.  When I pick up my kids from their religious education classes on the weekends, that’s one of the first things I notice there too, so it’s not just a Philly thing, apparently.
  • Snow days!  Although I still appreciate them when my kids have them.  I can remember longingly looking out the windows at the first sign of a flake wondering if we were going to be let out early for the day.  To this day nothing can quite replace that little sense of euphoria when an unplanned break in the usual routine gives you some respite from the day to day rat race.

In closing, I really enjoyed high school, and very much enjoyed the new faces and activities that I was exposed to as a result.  I don’t know that my life was necessarily simpler then, as I still managed to keep pretty busy.  In fact it always seemed that the more things I had to do, the more efficiently I managed to do what needed to be done–not always of course, but most of the time.  I can remember every now and then thinking, aw crap, forgot about that Social Studies test, and cramming during my gym period. But, compared to kid’s schedules these days, my schedule was probably fairly light.  I did manage to work part time, keep up with my studies and still participate in a club or two.  And it was all great for the most part–learning to become independent and making new friends was worth anything that was not so wonderful. I’m having trouble even pulling up any really awful memories, so it must not have been all that bad.  So all you graduates out there, grab the bull horn and take advantage of every opportunity you can.  Your world is your oyster, but you have to step up to make it so.

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