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Getting Out Alive: High School
September 6, 2011 8:43 AM   Subscribe

Whedon, Black, Oswalt, Savage etc.: How to Survive High School Rookie, the new blog/magazine from fashion's darling, 15 yr old Tavi Gavinson, asked various "grownups" for advice about high school.

NYT story on Tavi.
posted by Ideefixe (54 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Reading this just makes me wonder how anyone actually survives high school.

(Sometimes I wonder if I could teach high school. One of the problems with such a plan is that I'd have to be at a high school to do it and that would bring back memories I don't particularly want to have.)
posted by madcaptenor at 8:56 AM on September 6, 2011


High school was easy. Then again I went to a school chock full of nerds who competed aggressively on science fair projects, computer programming competitions, and Mu Alpha Theta.

Middle school, on the other hand... I would force anyone to re-live that.
posted by The Giant Squid at 8:57 AM on September 6, 2011


I had to change schools at age 16 and the shift, while geographically in the same zipcode in Kuala Lumpur, was enormous. I was moving from a British School where I'd been House Prefect responsible for an entire class of juniors after completing my O levels, to the American High School where I'd skip the 11th grade to enter as the youngest senior.

Culture, education system and social norms were all to change.

The best advice I got was from the American wife of one of my father's Malaysian colleagues. She said that there was always the "in" crowd that every one wanted to join and then there was everyone else, and the whole game was a losing proposition. The best thing to do was simply find people I liked to hang out with and do that, instead of worrying about the different factions and whether they were in, out or on the fringe.

I'm paraphrasing very clumsily and she'd explained in elegantly, I dimly recall after almost 30 years but that piece of insight on not worrying about being in or out and simply being has probably carried me well through out my life. Not to mention that some of those friends and I have stayed in constant correspondence for the decades since, writing real live letters across all our continental moves.

Thank you for the post and the memory it has returned to me.
posted by infini at 8:57 AM on September 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


Rather, "wouldn't".
posted by The Giant Squid at 8:57 AM on September 6, 2011


Middle school, on the other hand... I would[n't] force anyone to re-live that.

I might be blending together high school and middle school in my mind. (For me they were the same school.)
posted by madcaptenor at 9:00 AM on September 6, 2011


Eugene Mirman's guide to surviving high school (the one on nabbing a husband is funny too)
posted by leibniz at 9:03 AM on September 6, 2011


How was I supposed to think about prom when I spent so much time thinking about the concept of infinity?

But even surrounded by all these unicorns, I felt like the unicorniest.


So I used to think I hated Zooey Deschanel more when she was Katy Perry but now I think I hate her most as Zooey Deschanel.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:03 AM on September 6, 2011 [19 favorites]


High School was cake.

Jr. High, now...

We don't talk about Jr. High.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:13 AM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Everything I know about US high schools was learned from a mixture of American Pie, Mean Girls and Glee. Obviously they're caricatures, but I'm always intrigued to know what grains of truth lie in them and in other pop culture impressions of them. It's surprisingly hard to find out, as most people's recollections of high school are so emotive and painted in such glaring colours.

A few years ago I heard a rabbi explain that there’s a specific Jewish prayer meant to be recited when you find yourself in a crowd. I never learned the exact wording of this prayer—but the idea is basically this: Remember, everyone bears a hidden pain. Everyone. It may not show; it may be something you’d never guess in a million years. But every person has a secret burden.

Does anyone know what she's referring to? I'd be interested to read a version of it in English.
posted by metaBugs at 9:16 AM on September 6, 2011


Most important piece of advice: Don't be the person who's still talking about high school when you're no longer in high school.
posted by rusty at 9:19 AM on September 6, 2011 [16 favorites]


High school was survivable. I hated middle school, that was the worst 6 years of my life.
posted by Daddy-O at 9:21 AM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Kids, high school is like a concentrated version of what the rest of your life is going to be like, except you're not even getting paid to be there.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:31 AM on September 6, 2011


The best advice I got was from the American wife of one of my father's Malaysian colleagues. She said that there was always the "in" crowd that every one wanted to join and then there was everyone else, and the whole game was a losing proposition.

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.
posted by Rangeboy at 9:36 AM on September 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Kids, high school is like a concentrated version of what the rest of your life is going to be like, except you're not even getting paid to be there.

Haha, no.

Thank god, NO.
posted by jabberjaw at 9:39 AM on September 6, 2011 [14 favorites]


Alia Shawkat continues to be wonderful.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:40 AM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't remember [our local variant of] high school as terrible, but it was fairly tough in many ways. Now, as my eldest is doing her turn, she is happy and successful both socially and academically. Wow. This is the greatest achievement of my life. I must have done something right while raising her.
And no, happily, the rest of my life has been a completely different thing.
posted by mumimor at 9:44 AM on September 6, 2011


Does anyone know what she's referring to? I'd be interested to read a version of it in English.
posted by metaBugs at 9:16 AM on September 6 [+] [!]


Try this.
posted by get off of my cloud at 10:22 AM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh man. Around sophomore year I (somehow) rustled up some self-esteem and really learned to do and be what I wanted without caring (too much) about what other people thought of me. High school was a blast after that.... I think confidence really is a game changer.

But this:
RANCH. CAN. GO. ON. ANYTHING.

It's a lie, children! - propagated by the insidious Big Condiment industry. You know what's good for dipping fries? Ketchup! You know what's good for dipping pizza? Nothing! Just say no.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 10:45 AM on September 6, 2011


Good luck in high school. Being a person is hard.

This.
posted by The World Famous at 11:23 AM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know what she's referring to? I'd be interested to read a version of it in English.

It's from [surprisingly enough] Tractate Berachot-which means "blessings". It's part of the Mishna, one of the important works of oral torah, or commentary and expansion on the written one.]

[A person] who sees large crowds [of people] should say [the following Beracha (blessing):] Blessed are You Hashem, our God, King of the world, Who is wise [to know] secrets), because their faces are not similar to each other and their minds are not similar to each other.

The hebrew is actually kind of prettier, too.
posted by atomicstone at 11:25 AM on September 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Everything I know about US high schools was learned from a mixture of American Pie, Mean Girls and Glee. Obviously they're caricatures, but I'm always intrigued to know what grains of truth lie in them and in other pop culture impressions of them. It's surprisingly hard to find out, as most people's recollections of high school are so emotive and painted in such glaring colours.

Those pop culture representations have some truth, though the extent varies a lot depending on an individual's experience. I've met people who have described high school in the stereotypical "in crowd/out crowd" manner, with the jocks and cheerleaders standing atop the social heap. However, my experience was not like that at all, due to the fact that my school was HUGE, so there really wasn't much of an "in-crowd" because most of the kids didn't know most of the other kids. I basically hung out with my friends and did my own thing. It was fun, mostly, though there were some real down times (it being adolescence and all) and the educational experience was...lacking.
posted by breakin' the law at 11:38 AM on September 6, 2011


I got into a fair amount of trouble in junior high, I got stopped by the cops a few times for doing stupid shit like walking in subway tunnels, smoking on the platform, I eventually stopped going and missed about a month and my mom ended up having to report in to some sort of truancy court. My parents decided to send me to a nontraditional high school, probably would have ended up in jail if I hadn't.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:53 AM on September 6, 2011


In jr. high and high school, band was my salvation. By that I mean that I found something I really enjoyed doing, with others who also enjoyed it; and that single daily period made me happy enough to be able to cope with everything else.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:57 AM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I survived lower education. Not everything was nice or even civilized. But I'm over it.

I realized that the "bad people" were just kids with problems of their own. They had never been taught to confront those problems in a positive way.

No biggie. I'm over it. Hope you are too.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:12 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Most important piece of advice: Don't be the person who's still talking about high school when you're no longer in high school.

You're new to metafilter, aren't you. This doesn't happen here.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:13 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Most important piece of advice: Don't be the person who's still talking about high school when you're no longer in high school.

Better yet, don't talk about high school even when you are still in high school.
posted by The World Famous at 12:23 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I realized that the "bad people" were just kids with problems of their own. They had never been taught to confront those problems in a positive way.

I sent that link to my friend/classmate and said it reminded me of G, a classmate who'd acted out by defacing my locker numerous times from booby trapping it to painting crude words on it etc etc and I just heard that G has been in jail for quite some time.

karma.
posted by infini at 12:26 PM on September 6, 2011


I survived lower education. Not everything was nice or even civilized. But I'm over it.

I realized that the "bad people" were just kids with problems of their own. They had never been taught to confront those problems in a positive way.

No biggie. I'm over it. Hope you are too.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:12 PM on September 6 [+] [!]



Most important piece of advice: Don't be the person who's still talking about high school when you're no longer in high school.

You're new to metafilter, aren't you. This doesn't happen here.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:13 PM on September 6 [+] [!]


Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:16 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think one of the greatest things that ever happened to me was going to a high school that simply had too many fucking people for the whole in-group/out-group thing. For everything you were, there were five more people like you.
posted by griphus at 1:24 PM on September 6, 2011


I'm a witty guy (relative to the world-at-large, anyway; perhaps not so much to the metafilter audience). Getting people to laugh makes going through life fairly straightforward, high school as well. (I don't look back on high school as the best days of my life, but it definitely wasn't hell.)

My only regrets from high school are romantic ones. I was a shy kid around girls and tended to nurse hopeless crushes. I'd suggest to other shy kids: the moment you think you're crushing, ask the person out, and move on if they say no. Mind you, easy advice to give, very difficult to follow.
posted by maxwelton at 1:31 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


There was something wonderful about having a high school graduating class of 1500 students (the whole school 10-12 was around 4500)--high school with that many people is nothing at all like it's portrayed in the movies, or on tv, or in Sweet Valley High books. Like breakin' the law and griphus both said, above. Off campus, you wouldn't even know if that person went to your high school, unless he or she sat next to you in a class. Hell, even on campus, you didn't know if someone went to your high school. I dated a guy who went to high school in the next town over, but who used to ditch and come hang out at our school. Even with all that adolescent angst and hormone raging, it's close to impossible to think (and seriously laughable to pretend) that 1500 people actually know who you are, much less have an opinion of your value as a human being. It's incredibly freeing to absolutely faceless at age 16. Seriously, I did not even recognize the people nominated for homecoming king and queen three years running--it's amazing anyone even won.

You have your friends; so you also have your friend squabbles. You have that boy you like, so you also have your heart broken. You have some indifferent and some terrible teachers, but you also have that class you really like. You join some club and sometimes you get an award and sometimes you lose out to someone else. Or you ditch fourth period to go the beach for tacos with your best friend. Whatever. I always find characterizations of high school as something which must be survived, or something you need guidance to endure, alien and hyperbolic. Seriously, even at the time, it was largely a blur of unimportant events one right after another.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:38 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Full disclosure: I went to a high school of 500 people (all told), most of whom had known one another since kindergarten, or who were related to one another. The cliques, inasumch as we had them, were pretty intense. Reinventing yourself or moving into a clique? Not going to happen in a million years.

Like Greg_Ace, I was a band geek. It's where most of the nerds went to hang out; there wasn't much else for us in a school that was mostly about sports. The "Cool Kids" did their thing, and we did our thing, and we tried hard not to have our groups intersect.

I came away from high school thinking the world was against me and the majority of people were kinda dicks.

A couple of years ago, I went back to the village fair, and wound up in the beer tent looking for my sister and brother in law. All those people who had been assholes to me in high school? Friendly as could be. Like I had been their friend all my life. It was jarring, to say the least.

I'm still unpacking this idea in my head, because it doesn't jibe with what life was like for me back then. If I had advice for a high schooler today, it would be a variant of "this too shall pass". People and circumstances change; the bully of today might actually learn from his mistakes. Learn from your own and don't let your view of the world get cemented down in high school.
posted by LN at 2:05 PM on September 6, 2011


Seriously, I did not even recognize the people nominated for homecoming king and queen three years running--it's amazing anyone even won.

My high school did not have homecoming (I think - if it did, no one cared; I really don't remember), but we did have a prom king and queen. I do recall being informed of this fact and asking two questions: who's that?, and, wait, we have a prom king?
posted by breakin' the law at 2:14 PM on September 6, 2011


I do recall being informed of this fact and asking two questions: who's that?, and, wait, we have a prom king?

I realized a few weeks ago (while watching Never Been Kissed with my housemates) that I don't know if my high school had a prom king/queen/jester/whatever. This probably means we didn't, because I feel reasonably sure that I would have:
(a) rolled my eyes at whoever we picked, or
(b) been pleasantly surprised that the person chosen was someone I actually liked.
posted by madcaptenor at 2:19 PM on September 6, 2011


I don't want to be the "I don't have a television" guy, but I'm still not sure what a homecoming is, exactly. We definitely didn't have pep rallies (at least not mandatory, schoolwide ones) or homecoming kings and queens. I noticed a few alumni touring the school once in a while, but the times were pretty random. I'd always heard about it on TV, but I figure the "enormous urban school" factor is what prevented it from happening. Am I right?
posted by griphus at 2:23 PM on September 6, 2011


High school sucked. Middle school was worse. I got bullied a lot, and of course teachers and staff never did a damned thing about it. I've lived my entire life in this same small town, and, I imagine, like LN, I went to school from K-12th with basically the same group of people. Years later, I'd run into certain people, as you do in a small town. The bullies and assholes were now bankers, or locksmiths, or mechanics, or whatnot. And they all acted like we were old friends.

I ran into one of my former tormentors a few weeks ago, and he carried on like we were best friends. And the only thing I could think of was "Who the fuck do you think you are? You made my life a living hell for so many years, you gleefully tormented me--you threw rocks at me as a senior, for fuck's sake--and now you want to act like none of that happened, like we're old friends?" There's such hurt there, such lingering bitterness, that most of these people, if they were on fire, I wouldn't piss on 'em to put 'em out.

And it just kills me that I feel that way. Fuck high school. I can't imagine going to a reunion (my 15th was this summer, no thanks). Why would I want to relive even a single moment of that nightmare?
posted by xedrik at 2:27 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was definitely one of the music nerds. But the number of music nerds in my school was big enough, and the number of brainiacs was in general big enough, that I escaped most of the worst effects of high school. The bigger problem I had was sheer numbing boredom, but that was as much about being in a small town than anything else, and wanting to do well in school and to not ditch classes because "if I flunk out I may end up getting stuck here rather than going to a good school and if I have to stay in this town I WOULD SERIOUSLY GO COMPLETELY CRAZY OH MY GOD".

I was one of the kids who was also thinking about deep shit like infinity, but I had a number of other kids who were also thinking about that kind of shit around me, and I'd also figured out that "this is temporary and then I can go find my real people". I reconnected recently with someone who'd known me since I was six, and he said that I was already giving off subtle "this town is NOT for people like me" vibes even then.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:29 PM on September 6, 2011


You know what's good for dipping fries?

Malt vinegar.

I survived high school by, senior year, being a part of a bunch of people that was the cast offs from all the other groups that just didn't give a shit about being popular anymore. We had a couple of skaters, some stoner types, a bunch of metal-heads, some very smart people, and just a lot of other folk who were just folk, as it were.

Honestly, I don't really know how it happened, but it probably saved my life to just be around a bunch of people that were cool to one another by virtue of not wanting to deal with all of the crap that high-school in the late '80s wanted to dish out, rather than what was perceived as cool.

It all fell apart not long after that, but for that year, school itself was pretty okay.
posted by quin at 2:41 PM on September 6, 2011


I'm mostly curious about whether Tavi's website is going to appeal to actual teenage girls, or whether it's mostly popular among thirty-something women who are nostalgic for their days of teenage girldom. Has anyone heard any feedback from kids in the (supposed) target age?
posted by craichead at 3:33 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd always heard about it on TV, but I figure the "enormous urban school" factor is what prevented it from happening. Am I right?

Well, I went to one of the biggest high schools in California. We had pep rallies ('mandatory' ones until we realized that there's no way everyone in the school could fit inside the gym and then we ditched 'em to do homework because we were good kids) and homecoming and prom queen and king and yearbook and whatever.

Thing is, I knew most of the people in charge of putting on that stuff, so it was pretty easy for me to be involved. I dunno, I'm just starting to realize that I kind of hung out with a popular crowd in high school--or to be more accurate, the popular kids I hung out with weren't bullies so I had no problem dropping by to their parties or hanging out once in a while. I never had any problems with cliques, because I had my group and we hung out amicably with other groups, and life was good.

Couldn't tell you how to adapt that to smaller high schools, so all I can is 'Thank [deity] for enormous urban high schools!'
posted by librarylis at 3:45 PM on September 6, 2011


Its weird... because I'm usually pretty depressed, in my head I think that high school and middle school must have been Hell. But I had a good group of friends (all fellow outsiders, but the 'outsider' clique was the largest in my school) who cared about and supported me and I was never really physically bullied. All the issues I had came from my own idiocy and short-sightedness.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:34 PM on September 6, 2011


hailed as "the future of journalism" by Lady Gaga.

OK, I can now be absolutely sure she's nothing but hype.
posted by jonmc at 5:04 PM on September 6, 2011


Reading this just makes me wonder how anyone actually survives high school.

Not really caring helps.
posted by jonmc at 5:06 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm mostly curious about whether Tavi's website is going to appeal to actual teenage girls, or whether it's mostly popular among thirty-something women who are nostalgic for their days of teenage girldom. Has anyone heard any feedback from kids in the (supposed) target age?

I wonder the same thing, and when I posted the Rookie link to Facebook I even said something like "I'm not the demographic, I'm old enough to be the demographic's mom" but that it reminds me enough of Sassy Magazine to have really high hopes for it. Plus, I have daughters heading into the tween years soon, and teenaged nieces (that I hope will humor Aunt padraigin and click the link).

My older daughter is nearly nine and already starting to crave youth media--she just paid for her own Teen Vogue subscription (with my permission), and she's not so much interested in the relationship or celebrity aspect, but deeply curious about what older girls want to wear and do and what they think about. I remember wanting that too when I was her age, and not really having any way to find out. I would really love to be able to add Rookie to her whitelist in a couple years or so.
posted by padraigin at 5:24 PM on September 6, 2011


Plus, I have daughters heading into the tween years soon

No offense, but 'tween' is right up there with 'totes' on my list of words that need to be taken out back and shot repeatedly.
posted by jonmc at 5:26 PM on September 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stay in kids, school.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:40 PM on September 6, 2011


Junior high suuuuuuuucked. High school, not so bad. Big enough (1600) to find a niche and not have to cope with popularity games outside your niche if you didn't want to.

When people advocate for smaller high schools, I'm never entirely sure that's a good idea socially. You need to be either VERY small so there's just the one group who've all known each other since they were five, or large enough to let people find a niche.

However, I suspect junior high school age children should just be sent to sex-segregated salt mines until they outgrow the awkward years. It would also make them study harder for college or a trade, having tried out a particularly sucky job for a while. Think how much they'd appreciate their parents, too, after three years in Miss Minchin's Salt Mines.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:53 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, also? "When teachers say, “This is the best time of your life,” they are wrong."

I never had a teacher say that, but I had one show us the episode of Married with Children where Al Bundy looks back on his high school football hero days and bemoans his current life, who then turned on the lights and said, "Kids, if you think these are the best days of your life, you're going to grow up to be Al Bundy. There's nothing sadder than an 18-year-old whose best days are behind him." Something along those lines.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:02 PM on September 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I had a mixed experience. Junior high (small town) sucked, my first year of high school (big city) sucked as well--had some friends left over from grade school (I moved from small-town junior high 8th grade to big-city grade school 8th grade; a weird situation, to say the least), but didn't really hit my stride socially until I met the group of friends that I'm still in touch with lo these thirty-odd years down the pike. And, honestly, I don't think that who I was or how I reacted to people changed that much from place to place--I think that the culture in these places (including the cultures of the different cliques, including the one that I eventually belonged to) either had a place for me or they didn't.

Of all the bits of advice in that article, Dan Savage's is probably the best--find a school that fits you if you can--and Zooey Deschanel is right behind him: movies about high school generally have nothing to do with the reality of high school.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:22 PM on September 6, 2011


Tavi's friend, Spencer has also written some great posts about high school.
posted by mike3k at 8:29 PM on September 6, 2011


Teaching high school is actually quite liberating after enduring it as a teen. The big thing that changes is your sense of self as it relates to everyone else around you (at least, it was for me). When I was actually in high school, I was so ridiculously self-conscious that I was practically paralyzed. If I got a zit, I was convinced that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE would be staring at it in loud, mocking amazement as it was obviously so large I might as well have had a full size stop sign glued to my face. I was so preoccupied with what everyone else thought about my hair, my walk, my pants, etc. that it's a miracle I ever made it to class. That's what being a teenager is often about. Being so incredibly obsessed with everyone's approval that you flounder about in angsty confusion and barely manage to hold yourself together. They call it "anxiety" in modern edubabble parlance.

Being a teacher is totally different. I had a kid compliment me on my shoes today and my first thought was "Huh. You noticed I was wearing shoes? Nice!". I'm pretty sure most of the students think I'm some sort of automaton that powers down for the night in the math office. It's very refreshing. You can see all the angst, and you totally feel for the kids (and you try to make some connections and help wherever you can), but you're totally immune to it. Teenage brains are completely different, and it's tough sometimes because you can't just assure them that they won't care about their super important mega crisis in a few days. They wouldn't believe you, and it wouldn't be very helpful. The best advice (which many of the linked contributors touched on) is to tell them to be true to themselves and hold on to the friends and the interests that make them feel happy.
posted by Go Banana at 8:57 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Junior High was nothing but pain and misery for me, and largely, that continued into high school (until I was lucky enough to move in with family in a different state, and transfer to a better high school). The only thing (literally, the only thing) that kept me going were things I picked up outside of school. I was a member of United Synagogue Youth, and the three regional get togethers they held each year were an escape for me. That, and science-fiction conventions, three or four a year in Detroit.* Those five or six weekends a year were the first time I ever met people who wanted to hang out with me, and actively looked for me when I wasn't around. For roughly five years, those weekends were the only times I had friends, and I honestly don't think I'd still be here without them.

That said, I'm teaching now, and I've taught both junior high and high school, and teaching (ESL), I much prefer junior high. The kids haven't been so totally beaten down by the system and the rules of jh, and to some extent, they're actually still pleasant human beings. I have seen, and done my best to fight bullying. I have a much greater appreciation now for the teachers who actually reached out to me, and who tried to help. It isn't easy to do, and a lot of time, teachers really are to busy to notice. It doesn't take the strength of Hercules to do something, though. For the teachers that joined in, or who did nothing to stop it? My scorn for them has only grown. We can't make school a paradise for students, but we can certainly help. Anyone who doesn't want to help, or can't be bothered to talk to a crying student, or doesn't feel they need to get involved when they see a kid surrounded by five or six bigger kids who are taunting, punching, or whatever? Those people are in the wrong job.

*CONfusion, CONclave, and CONtraption, if anyone was there in the early 90's.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:19 PM on September 6, 2011


Enormous anonymous schools, what's that?
:)

My experience is an outlier, but imagine high school having everything from 'back home' - except maybe homecoming, with maybe 900 people from K-12, 40 different nationalities and funky backpacking teachers (early eighties in South East Asia?) talking about Vietnam because Modern South East Asian history was mandatory for graduation.

The football jocks were in my AP calculus class and terribly sweet if a tad confused on how to interact with a very square, very bookish Indian (the only one in the whole school). Since there was no American football they took the train to Bangkok or Singapore to play weekend games. I earned some after school money tutoring the head cheerleader's boyfriend in algebra and sat next to our only metalhead in technical drawing class. I hung out with the sophisticated French girls and the serious Dutch. My father was hauled up for an enquiry when his car was found parked outside the Polish embassy. We went to the Fijian's father's funeral. And there's that Kenyan, who came from Jakarta to compete in Oration. I always wonder when I hear that voice. Eh, I should take the bus up to KL soon.

Reading through I realized that though there was the in crowd, nobody really excluded any one else. We were too small an island all adrift between cultures.
posted by infini at 12:23 AM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I went to a very small high school (about 400 kids total, including the 7th and 8th grade; 62 kids in my graduating class) in a very Southern town (where a famous whisky is distilled) in Middle Tennessee. (Kudos to anyone who can figure out what school I attended.)

Yeah. Being cleverly witty was perceived as a threat, not as a disarming tactic. The entire social system of high school is about getting you to feel bad about who you are while you're trying to figure out who you are.

Fuck high school in the ass.
posted by grubi at 11:24 AM on September 7, 2011


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