As I’ve mentioned before, I graduated from high school ten years ago. And for some reason, while eating breakfast this morning, I started thinking about all the things from high school that I really don’t miss – apparently bacon and eggs makes me reflect on my life.
So let’s take a look, shall we?
High school, in and of itself, is a terrible idea. Cramming a bunch of kids whose only common thread is, “hey, we’re all the same age” into one building for 8-10 hours every weekday and giving them free reign to establish their own social system is universally damaging to everybody involved.
But it’s reality. It happened to me, and it happened to you. What don’t I miss?
- Dating. This list isn’t in any particular order, but dating is still going to be #1, regardless. The greatest trick that the media and society have fostered among the people is that dating is a great thing. Think about it: every time somebody gets married, there’s at least one jackass thinking about how much you’re “missing out” by tying yourself down to one woman (or man). I could write 2,000+ words on why dating is awful in every sense of the concept, but here’s just a small sampling of what I don’t miss about dating: there’s a dance coming up and I need a date, do you think she would go with me, does she like me, do you think she’d want to date me after the dance, how’s my hair look, am I wearing the right outfit, is she having a good time, is she into me, is she TOO into me, how serious is this, how far are we going to go, do her parents like me, seriously – how’s my hair, am I being funny enough, does she think I’m cool, is she going to break up with me, do her friends like me, do my friends like her, I think she’s going to break up with me, I think I need to break up with her, how do I do it, is it the right thing to do, is she going to hate me, dramadramadramadramadrama. I didn’t even have to think too hard to do this one. Dating sucks. Let’s all just be honest about it.
- No sleep. ‘Til Brooklyn (sorry). I’m on a pretty steady schedule of anywhere from 6.5 to 7.5 hours of sleep every night, and I still have the occasional day where I’m too tired to function in the morning. On average, in high school, there were periods where I was sleeping 4 hours a night. One night my senior year, I let a project go until the last minute, so I got done with school at about 3:30, had after-school stuff until 6:00, worked at a grocery store from 7:00 to 11:00, came home, and then started the project. I finished the project just before 6:00am, slept for about 45 minutes, and then went to school. If I would try that now, I’m pretty sure I’d be dead. That’s not even an expression. My body would legitimately cease to function at that point.
- Incidental friendships. You know the types: the friends you had just because you had classes together. As an adult, I get to choose who I hang out with and how often I spend time with them. In high school, it’s just the luck of the draw. There were hundreds of kids in my class, some of whom are really cool and fun to hang out with, and we’d get along well. But we never hung out because we just never had the same class schedule. Same goes for girls that I would have/could have dated. Just never saw each other.
- Archaic rules. I went to a private, Lutheran high school. And as a Lutheran adult, I place a high value on a Christian education. That part I would not change for anything. But going to a very conservative high school meant there were rules that didn’t make any real sense and really had no Biblical basis, either. For some reason, in my high school, boys were not allowed to grow any facial hair outside of a mustache (and this was 1999-2003, a time before the Age of the Ironic Mustache, so those were no good either). And if you had a girlfriend, you better not be caught by certain teachers with your arm around her! That was just too much “PDA”! Again, I love the fact that I got a Christian education, but man. Some of those rules were a little bonkers, even in retrospect. I mean, Jesus wore a beard, right?
- You better be good at sports! Here’s how a high school class system works: at the top, you have those that are really good at the cool sports: football, basketball, baseball, and maybe wrestling. Then, you had anybody that was hot and knew how to wear and afford good-looking clothes. Then you had the doofuses that probably weren’t that good-looking or good at (or for) anything, but they were obnoxious, which in high school means they were “hilarious”. After that, it’s a crapshoot. I was a fairly mild-mannered, average-looking kid that ran cross country. So… yeah.
- No money, mo’ problems. This issue spilled into college and most of my adult life (and just got worse as time went on), and is just now becoming less of an issue, but I was broke. Like, constantly broke. I had jobs in high school, but I never could seem to scrape any money together. I’d blow it, or I’d be so deep in debt to my parents that it took forever to get a little money for myself. It was annoying and stressful. Lots of friends and other kids had parents that footed the bill for stuff. I had no such luxury.
- I can’t go anywhere without approval. Not having money and being a little younger in my class meant that I couldn’t drive a car until senior year. That meant three solid years of a fairly active social life, but always needing a ride. My parents were pretty great and understanding about it, but still – it’s hard to look cool on a date when your parents are picking you up and your date has a car.
- Homework. So let’s see: I’ve got school from about 8:00am until 3:30pm. I have to go to cross country practice right after school until about 5:30pm. Then I need to go to vocal jazz practice for an hour or so. Then I need to go home and change. Then I go to work from 7:00pm until 11:00pm. Then I need to come home and eat some dinner. So now it’s 11:45pm, I still need to unwind from the day, and what’s that? Oh, I have two papers to work on, a science project, a group History presentation, and a pile of algebra problems. And I haven’t seen or talked to my girlfriend yet. And I have to be up at 6:00am. Remember #2?
- Seriously, how’s my hair? Looks mean everything in high school. If you’re not the “funny” kid, you need to look good. I have hair like a brillo pad that pretty much laughs at me when I stand in front of the mirror and try to do anything with it. In high school, that meant I spent 15-20 minutes in front of the bathroom mirror every morning, packing my hair with as much gel as my head could support, settling for something that looks nothing like I intended, avoided open windows all morning, only to get hit with a gust of wind walking from my car to the front door of the school. Half my hair would puff up and remain there for the rest of the day, leaving me with a half-gelled and wet-looking, half-dry and puffy and unwieldy head of hair. It looked stupid and awkward, just like me. Outside of my wedding day, one of the greatest days of my life was the night in my sophomore year of college when I let my brother take a #2 clippers and shear off all of my hair. It feels great and is zero maintenance. I wish I had done it sooner.
That’s all I’ve got right now. What don’t you miss about high school? Because seriously, it sucked. Do you disagree? Let me have it in the comments…