What was your high school experience like and how could it have been improved?

posted 2 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 31
1638 posts
Bumble bee

It was alright. Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it. I had a group of friends then, but I’m not still close to them. 

I would have been happier if my parents were less strict and less whackadoodle, but that was generally true of my childhood. 

Post # 33
255 posts
Helper bee

xdanielle :  I’m sure what you had in mind was not to create a prison-like atmosphere! However, you did specifically give the example of assigned seating at lunch. I think assigned lunch seating in high school would have given me a very similar feeling of lack of autonomy and made me feel as though the school administration didn’t respect students’ abilities to make their own decisions.

I was also very shy growing up so I do understand where you were coming from, but also for my particular brand of shyness that would’ve been very counterproductive. I know I would’ve sat there feeling like the other students didn’t choose to sit with me and so probably had no interest in talking to me or spending time with me. So instead of reaching out I would’ve spent the entire year or semester staying silent and feeling even more insecure than I’ve been allowed to sit with people I genuinely felt comfortable around. I’m just providing a counterpoint to help you think through the upsides and downsides of some of the things you mentioned.

Post # 34
1365 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018 - Banquet Hall/Conference Center

tiffanybruiser :  Haha I do to! I’ve since switched from reading YA Fiction for fun sometimes to independent movies about teenagers (can’t wait to see Ladybird, for instance). It’s a genre that has such universal appeal.

My public high school was also huge, class of almost 800. I was also middle of the pack, not bullied or depressed but also not popular or super smart. A minus type kid who wasn’t particularly good at anything but I was fairly social and joined the rat race for clubs. Always the middle of the pack though, both socially and in performance.

Something I wish I could have changed was the culture of extremely high achievement and competition. While I am grateful for the fantastic education I got in high school (which in some ways was harder than college or grad school because I had an ‘easy’ major), I hated how only the top 25% (heck, 15%) of the class ran the school. All the videos, promos, and PR about how awesome the school was was and how many opportunities it offered was a reflection of a select few overachieving all-rounders (people who were popular yet wicked smart, captaining sports teams and extracurricular clubs and still volunteered. the perfect ones). There was a huge contrast between the people who I strived to be like (that cream of the crop) and people who were my friends (who were largely first generation immigrants and weren’t into most of the school spirit stuff either due to their home environments, being new, due to their personality, or being isolated in ESL clsses).

Takeaway: I wish large high schools would do a better job of ensuring everyone has an equal chance to succeed socially, academically, and in extracurriculars – especially those under the radar. I still remember that the year under me, at graduation, a kid slipped a note to the principal that read something like “remember the rest of us. We were here too”. It makes me so sad to now read that there were 3 suicides last year and already rumors of one in 2018. Someone made a petition last year which garnered national attention.

I also wish my school had more racial and socio-economic diversity. Even for being so large, it was too much of a bubble and the divide between the (mostly White/Asian) ‘townies’ and the fewer, Black/Hispanic/Asian immigrant ‘newcomers’ was pretty stark because it seemed like there were so few of the latter depending on what academic track you were on. I hated that there was a large subset of the student body who would only take AP (even Honors wasn’t good enough) classes and hence only know other AP and honors students.

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