Sunday, January 14, 2007

Are There Any Adults Who LIKED High School?

The Good Old DaysOver at Gates of Vienna we seem to have stumbled upon a vein of school material - the stuff that makes the Baron rant because it’s obvious the corrupted practices of pc education are leaving our kids in the lurch – not to mention President Bush’s mindless support of the “No Boondoggle Left Behind” program. This odiferous piece of legislative garbage doesn’t provide any money for vocational schools, by the way, so some kids are indeed left behind. Vo-Tech will just have to make do. Build their own desks, maybe.

Continuing in school mode, later today I’m going to do a post over there on Victor David Hanson’s views of the corrupted university. Not that I’d planned to, but it’s a pet peeve and since he wrote an essay last week on how truly awful “universities” are, I’m going to give it seat and voice at Gates. I found it last night on his PJM site.

For four years we have been paying exorbitant tuition fees/loans to a state school for the future Baron. It’s almost over, and I can’t wait till he can be free of that place. He’s going to work for a year and then go to graduate school for oenology. In other words, he hopes to be a vintner. There are far fewer ways they can pc that one up. I’m so relieved he’s not even considering a doctorate in chemistry. There are two hundred vineyards in Virginia alone, but Chem PhD’s do not find employers lining up after they finish that rigorous, long, and expensive haul up the mountain. Several friends with doctorates in Chemistry have urged him not to go there. He listened.

Meanwhile, the Baron and I are helping a teenager who has run up against the wall at high school. He’s miserable and feels scapegoated. We’re going to run interference for him but his experience reminded me of my high school years…definitely misery time, and a relief when they were done.

I’ve been asking people for years if they liked high school. So far, everyone has said no. Everyone but the Baron, that is - and for him it was because his high school years were spent in the north of England and the curriculum was so rigorous that he got to skip his freshman year when he came back to the US. Besides, England (back then) was condescendingly fond of Yanks, and the cultural infrastructure there was still in place. His geeky self was quite acceptable and he had lots of friends. The school didn’t have cliques, really. As far as I can tell, people grouped off according to their interests, but that was about it. And the kids had a place to go and dance and hang out…sounds idyllic.

He would’ve been dead meat back here in the US, just like so many of us were…

As far as American schools go, there doesn’t seem to be anyone exempt. Private or public, high school is misery time.

If any soul should read this, and had a different experience, please let me know. If you liked high school, why so, and why do you think it was different for you? For example, I’ll bet people who married their high school sweetheart (and stayed married) do not shudder when asked about those years. And maybe the top scorer on the basketball team has fond memories of glory...actually I can vouch for the latter: I read recently that he donated the money to have a new field house built at our old school, and named in his honor. So, definitely, Roger would say 'aye.'

What was high school like for you?

19 Comments:

At 1:52 PM, Blogger Suzi said...

I loved it.

I went to a smallish high school, 800 at its peak, and was the new kid in town as a freshman. The school was known for its academic excellence and I enjoyed the work.

I was a teenager, so there was some angst. Regardless it was fun, enjoyable, and I would go back again willingly if time travel were possible, though I like my life here and now and don't really want to leave it.

My comment here got too long, so I'm working on a post about it.

 
At 3:18 PM, Blogger Vera said...

I've been to two high schools: 9th and 10th grade in Russia in 1986-88 and 11th and 12th in the US in 1988-90. I mildly disliked the first one and loved the second one.

It was a fairly large (2500 people or so) and very good public school in a suburb of Boston. I probably liked it that much in contrast with the Russian school, but I don't recall many people who hated it there.

 
At 3:34 PM, Blogger Dymphna said...

Suzi and Vera --

Thanks for the affirmative responses.

Vera, I do tend to think that Russia would make anything look better!

I wish some guys would chime in. I read a study a few years ago that for most men, the worst moment in high school for American guys was realizing they weren't good enough for the team -- whatever team they tried out for. They could recall the rejection in perfect detail.

 
At 5:55 PM, Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

Public High School: pure hell. There was no place for me to fit in. I was a shy, quiet, introverted kid who liked mechanical stuff, and was useless in sports. Public school it seemed, revolved around sports if you were a boy. The academic portion was dominated by girls. The teaching and the atmosphere seemed to revolve around a female perspective (it was VERY P.C.)

Private School: I ended up in an all boys military school for the last two years of High School. I cried like a bitch my first few weeks there.. but after a while I adjusted. After a year, my SAT scores went up so much that I was warned that I would likely be investigated for cheating.

The biggest differences between the two was that in military school there were no cliques, P.C., speech codes, or other nonesense. Plus, I got something every introvert on earth wishes for.. to be left alone. In public school, if you were quiet and kept to yourself, someone would screw with you. Some older kid wanting to pick a fight or some 'concerned' teacher wanting to make you act like everyone else. IN public school, 'class participation' was a big part of our grades. You got points off for staying in the back of the classroom and keeping quiet. In military school, if you followed the rules, didn't bother anyone else, you were left the hell alone. Your grades depended on how well you did on tests.. not whether or not you conformed to the group think.

 
At 5:59 PM, Blogger Kirk Parker said...

Sure, I had a great time in high school. Of course I had problems, and it wasn't perfect, but overall it was quite a happy time.

Disclaimer: that was 34+ years ago, in a pretty good, smaller (a single 950-student high school) suburban district.

As another data point, I'd say 3 out of our 4 kids had an experience at least as positive as mine, and the 4th was at least so-so.

 
At 8:50 PM, Blogger Kurt said...

Compared to middle school, high school was rather pleasant. But I still wouldn't elect to endure it again. In all fairness, though, I don't think I'd choose to go through college again, or if I did, I'd probably choose a different major, or maybe I'd do some other things differently. OK, the more I think about it, maybe I wouldn't mind going through college again, but that's as far back as I'd go.

 
At 10:33 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

I spent 1979-1984 at a state high school here in Melbournistan, and it was in the outer suburbs. Like out in the boonies.

Overall, I enjoyed it.

Yeah, I had one girl beat me up for a couple of years, but that was just part of growing up.

It helps that my parents made sure I could stand on my own two feet and deal with my issues.

In any event, the main reason I got beaten up was because a)the girl was a bully, and b) I just wasn't consistent with her. Sometimes I ignored her and sometimes I fought back. I don't think she knew quite what to do with me until my mum got sick of me coming home covered in bruises and called her parents.

I had a few moonbat teachers, but on the whole I enjoyed it.

 
At 11:43 PM, Blogger HarbourPilot said...

Like the Baron, I attended school in the North of England (1966-71) - 'O' Levels and 'A' Levels.
It was a boarding school, all-male (obviously, in that era) run by the Jesuits in Lancashire. It then had about 500 students, aged 13-18.

I loved it; it was an oasis in an insane world. Of course even at that age I knew the world was insane ... we could see hippiedom ascendant, and the VietNam war, etc. etc. in the news, but we were sheltered, and kept so busy with studies and sports that we had no time to get into trouble. (There's much to be said for single-sex schools, and school uniforms; there are enough distractions at that age.)

But my experience was obviously not typical for my North American age group, and as much as I benefitted from my experience, there was a downside (No, I don't mean the school; inside joke).

Going to that school involved leaving my friends on this side of the ocean behind. Finishing that school and returning to THIS side of the ocean meant that I left THOSE friends behind. In all, a mixed blessing. It's hard to lose touch with all your closest friends, twice, in the space of 6-7 years.

(And as for the Brits being condescending to the Baron as a Yank ... I can relate. I was dubbed Yankee Frankee, since my first name is Frank - despite the Brits knowing that I was not from the U.S., but from that colder region north of the U.S. One would have thought the Brits would have recognized a member of the 'Commonwealth' as one of their own, but I guess the rhyme was too good to pass up ... plus I think most of them had never met ANYONE from N. America, so they can perhaps be excused (to a degree) their ignorance. Mix ignorance with a schizophrenic superiority-inferiority complex, when dealing with North Americans (and a touch of envy thrown in), and there's no telling what to expect from the Brits.

Nevertheless, I love 'em all, still. Just sorry to see how they've lost their backbone. Can't believe what they've allowed their country to become. They were just starting to import their race problem with the drastic changes in immigration policy while I was in school there, and Canada almost simultaneously (under Trudeau) was doing the same.

 
At 12:45 AM, Blogger miriam said...

I was two years younger than the other students in my class at high school. My parents were divorcing, and my mother was short of money and preoccupied. Maybe that is why the kids picked on me. Or it could be that I didn't have the right clothes.

It was all about money in my suburban high school. Lots of the kids had their own cars. All the girls wore the same hairstyle, and if your hair wouldn't behave appropriately you were fucked.

I would rather swim in a sewer full of rats than go back to that place, even for a day.

 
At 8:01 AM, Blogger hank_F_M said...

Dymphna

You remember the last four things

Death

Judgment

Heaven or back to High School


Remember a few years ago a high school (Glenbrook North) had an incident where the hazing at a powder puff football game got out of hand. That is my alma mater. Apparently hasn’t chanted a bit. I didn’t appreciate at the time but being from the “poor” side of the North Shore I couldn’t even aspire to that clique. Thank God for small favors.

 
At 8:07 AM, Blogger hank_F_M said...

Dymphna

You remember the last four things

Death

Judgment

Heaven or back to High School


Remember a few years ago a high school (Glenbrook North) had an incident where the hazing at a powder puff football game got out of hand. That is my alma mater. Apparently hasn’t chanted a bit. I didn’t appreciate at the time but being from the “poor” side of the North Shore I couldn’t even aspire to that clique. Thank God for small favors.

 
At 8:20 AM, Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Mixed. I didn’t like most classes (except math) but found an interesting social scene. In my big city high school (circa 1967) there were many schools within a school and you could find “yours” if you looked. There was no known “in” group because there were too many students to know. I don’t remember any sports but I’m sure that group existed; I just ignored that area.

 
At 11:36 AM, Blogger tyreea said...

I had a great time in high school. I attended a suburban Catholic all boys school. The dances and sporting events were well attended because the students from the girls schools attended. The teachers were wonderful, with a few exceptions and I learned something from all of them. I did a lot of growing up and met my wife from on of the girls schools at the first dance of her freshmen year. My high school years were not perfect, but I don't have any reason to complain.

 
At 2:21 PM, Blogger Matt said...

I enjoyed High School. I attended a decently sized (1400 students I believe) school in conservative Orange County California. I had excellent honors teachers and many of my classmates were Vietnamese (actually most) who did very well and generally helped to keep a high standard.

I may not have had an ordinary experience--I did tie for second place when graduating, but it was enjoyable. One thing I especially appreciated was teachers who pushed us to learn, and those that refused to push their politics on us. (I had ones from both sides of the spectrum)

~Matt

 
At 3:15 AM, Blogger José Joseph said...

I went to a Catholic boys school, and mostly enjoyed every bit of it. I wasn't big enough to make the football team, but I travelled with the team and helped out, and the team was thankful. The Christian brothers (our teachers) were helpful, and they always hung around after school to play ball, or help with homework. I was a day-student and had an old Chevy after turning 16. I loved this Chevy, and I could drive it to school. The dances with the girls from the nearby convent school were exciting, and the girls smelled really nice when we danced. We had catechism class and we learned to sing, box, volunteer in the kitchen, and wrestle - most likely all of this is now illegal. Some of the Italian kids were really stupid. But it was a whole lot more fun than being depressed and doing drugs!

 
At 12:30 PM, Blogger Hiraethin said...

I had a mixed experience. I attended several public schools at the Australian high school level (years 7-10) and a private school for years 11-12. I found high school to be largely a decent experience, once I'd made friends. Moving interstate meant starting in a new school without friends, which is never fun. Money didn't seem to be a big issue in who could be in what clique.

I tolerated private schooling very poorly, partly because I left my existing clique behind, and partly because the student culture was vastly different.

I was largely happy at the time. I'd do things differently if I had it over, but who wouldn't?

High school introduced me to most of the good things in my life: my closest friends (still), computers, and RPGs.

 
At 11:30 AM, Blogger Calamity Jane said...

I had an absolutely wonderful time in high school - but I was unschooling.

 
At 1:00 PM, Blogger MaureenE said...

I actually enjoyed high school. After the, well, after middle school it was wonderful. I had friends who didn't make fun of me behind my back. I did actually have good teachers who challenged and motivated me, in particular two English teachers one of whom I was blessed to be able to have for two years. They're a part of the reason I'm majoring in English and planning to get a teaching degree (yes, I know I'll be disenchanted, unhappy, etc.)

My school was, like Suzi's, about 800 students at its peak and was known for its academic excellence. I can't say that I loved every minute of it but it was the best experience I could have had in that time at that place.

 
At 10:11 PM, Blogger And Rue said...

I got a lot out of high school in terms of learning and activities, and I was lucky to have some truly great and inspirational teachers. (A few weren't.) For a variety of reasons, however, I ended up socially stunted for years. It was a small college town in the midwest, and there was a sharp divide between children of faculty members and the rest. In an effort to atone for snobbish tendencies, I made friends with some of the "common folk," with uneven results. Our graduating class was only 125 or so. For some reason, I didn't even buy our class yearbook, which I later regretted. In retrospect, I had a better time in high school than I thought at the time, and the two high school reunions I attended were very enjoyable. Learning how some people prospered or led worthy lives, while others didn't, was very enlightening. To my surprise, I was able to talk freely and openly to almost everyone who was there, including some of the best-looking girls, or "former" girls. Saying things I had always wanted to say really healed some of the emotional scars.

 

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