Last week I used "my friend from high school" in a sentence, and I instantly aged 10 years and became uncool all at once
I graduated TWO years ago! I remember thinking 17 was it for me. I had reached my peak. I could stay seventeen forever, and be perfectly content. And sometimes, I think I had it right.
things I was in high school:
1. late. as in, every single day late. as in, the office ladies and I were on first name basis, and they gave me balloons and flowers on my last day of attendance school. Miss u Barb.
2. ugly. haha, okaaaaaayyyyyy maybe that's a strong word. But I look at pictures from those days and think "WOW, why didn't anyone tell me to get ready in the mornings?" And then I remembered. It's cause I was always late.
Me: *wonders why guys didn't like me in high school*
3. a cheerleader. Not even a cheerleader. THE cheerleader. At a place where school pride was non existent, it ran through my veins. It was in my BLOOD! I choreographed dances. I might have pushed some scandalous moves. I would scream at the student section to cheer or to leave, fight with the referees and distract the opposing team's cute point guards at all costs. People never believed me when they found out I was a cheerleader. I definitely didn't come across as the type. My mom even said one time, "Why do you like being a cheerleader? they're happy bums all the time... and you're.. just not?" but guys. I loved it. I got out all of my passive aggressive anger with my pom poms, and my butt looked great in a uniform.
4. mouthy. Oh man, Mrs. Eisenhart, if you're reading this. I'm sorry about our screaming match in front of the junior class about the OJ Simpson case. I was really passionate back then.
and finally, I was....
5. NOT A GOOD STUDENT! I graduated by the skin of my teeth, with about 40 hours of detention a month before school ended. I got B's and C's, fell asleep during the ACT and I had the attention span of a third grader. School was not my thing. I was a smart kid, but I was lazy and I hated the school system.
I remember sitting at my brothers graduation, a year before mine, watching their "year end slideshow." Graduation was pretty painful already, but as someone who loves watching and making videos, this sent me OVER THE EDGE. It was just that. a slideshow. Set to some linkin park song or something. Groundbreaking right? I remember my Grandma leaning over to me and saying "You should make the video for your graduation!" And my initial thought was, "I could never do that, I'm not on student council."
And here's the problem with that. I loved making videos. And there were 100 other kids at my school that loved making videos, and were really really good at them too. Ironically enough, none of those 100 kids were on student council. Shouldn't their talent be showcased anyway? Appreciated and given opportunity?
At my school, it wasn't like that. Those privileges were saved for the kids who took AP classes, averaged a 4.0 and wore council sweaters.
Don't get me wrong, those kids are real life super humans who deserve some SERIOUS credit. But it overshadowed other kids who weren't as motivated, or driven in academics, but still insanely talented in so many areas. We were constantly being told, that we weren't good enough. maybe not directly, maybe they never flat out said it, but I know I'm not the only one who didn't feel as valued as freakin Susan sitting next to me, who just won her 73rd consecutive "student of the week"
(is anyone actually named Susan anymore?? was that a bad example name??? get back to me on that.)
Something else I feel strongly about: Graduation speakers.
I had a friend, from another high school who was DOPE at public speaking. He won the national speaking competition for their skills team. Seems like a no brainer to let your national speaking champion say a few words to the graduating class, right??? So he auditioned, and the teachers loved him. He blew everyone out of the water. But he was ultimately cut because he had bad grades and they couldn't let "someone like that" represent the school at the ceremony. Dead serious. They actually told him that!
So instead, just like every other year in every other high school, they let four or five kids with squeaky clean report cards, address their peers. Even though these kids represent less than 10% of their graduating class.
How beneficial do you think it would be to let at least one kid who struggled through high school, and didn't get perfect scores, talk about their journey?
So, because I have a large audience of kids still in high school, or freshly graduated, let's talk. let's gossip
I've had all of these feelings bottled up inside of me for years. I was even planning on writing this exact blog post two years ago, to really stick it to the man. But once I got my diploma, the passion I had towards this subject kind of died. I thought, "there's nothing I can do about it now." But I realize that there is! There is something I can do about it. And it's not so much me, as it is you. I'll give you the pep talk. And then you guys go and raise hell. Ready BREAK.
we're so much more than our grades. so much more. I'm so far removed from the school system I physically cannot remember the last time I studied for anything, but I'm going to say "we" because I get you. I've been there.
school teaches you that you are only valued by your academics. It sounds dramatic, and yes, I'm pretty dang dramatic, but it's true. I really hope that isn't the case everywhere, but it was for me, and hundreds of other kids I graduated with. Yes, school is about academics, and learning, but you can't sit in a desk for 12 years and let someone define you by the way you take tests. They put you in the teeniest tiniest box. Not to say that talents outside of academics weren't celebrated. But it was the talents of the athletes, musicians, and artists, with high GPA's that were celebrated.
You're smarter than that, you're cooler than that, you're worth more than that. And if they won't tell you that, I will. (u know I would be the best principal. #HeadmasterSevere2020)
Kids out of high school: don't let your teachers convince you that the only way to succeed is by continuing your education after you graduate.
I know this one firsthand. My high school's motto was "preparing for post secondary education."
and YO!!!! I didn't go to college! At all. Never even applied. And that's okay! The world didn't end!!! Mr. Robinson didn't roll over and die! We're all here, and I'm chillin, I even have my own business, and I'm getting real life experiences without "post secondary education." It's possible.
-- and in attempt to calm down all the angry mothers reading this, I'm not trying to convince your kids not to go to college. I'm just saying, the world will keep on turning if they don't.
Kids IN high school:
have school spirit.
don't care too much about what you look like.
skip class to makeout with hot boys,
but DON'T sit confined in that teeny tiny academics box.
Find your talents. Find what you're good at, find what you love, and force your administration to recognize it. I'm serious.
I wish I would have pushed harder to make the senior video. I wish I would have petitioned to speak at graduation. So my little ones, I'm living through you now. Do this for me.
and for nostalgia sake and my adorable little baby cartoon voice, here is the high school movie that never made it to the Jumbotron.