Confessions of a High School Survivor

New writer Mindy knows what is up with school, and post school life. Artwork by Sarah.

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High school is where our most valuable life skills are developed. For example, in my first year out in the big, dumb real world, I’ve absolutely polished my abilities to 1) procrastinate so hard that even the list of all the reasons I hate myself only has a title heading, 2) stress-cry myself to sleep, and 3) eat four times worth the adult daily average of sugar intake in one day. Thanks Grade 12, couldn’t have done it without you.

I wished upon each and every one who insisted But this is the best year of your life the hellfire of ten thousand suns. In fact, the year Sebastian, the captor of my seven year old heart, chose my best friend Josephine over me was a wildly better school year than 2012 was. And not because I got to play Stevie from The Saddle Club every lunchtime.

Smack bang in term one, an enormous amount of pressure is placed onto Year 12 students to excel academically. How anyone could fit twenty hours of homework per week on top of eight hours of school per day, as well as all the underage sex, drugs and alcohol sure did have me stumped. (Luckily for me, the sex, drugs and alcohol thing kind of worked itself out and I had the whole 168 hours to peruse modern history textbooks.)

The amount of times we were told Nothing is more important than these grades would only be acceptable had the school provided puppies to cuddle during mid-exam mental breakdowns. While it is true that those grades were important, there are hundreds (okay, maybe three or four) ways to get around tertiary education without the ideal OP score or rank.

Now to get this straight – I’m not saying don’t try hard in school – especially in Year 12 – but don’t overwork yourself to the point that your blood is 85% caffeine and your mood is perpetual crying, because once you’re stuck in the funk, you’re stuck in the funk. And the funk means wondering what it’d be like to be underneath the school bus instead of inside it.

Alright, so this became real dark and real quick, and I don’t mean to imply that high school is funded directly by Satan’s mistress – although it’s possible she did write a few of the exams. In fact, I know some people who absolutely loved (ew, emotion) their final year of school, and would give anything to do it over again. They miss high school so much that I had to unfollow them on Instagram because really, I don’t know how many group photos in school uniforms with the captions “these kids”, or “miss science times with this chick”, or simply that singular tear sad face emoticon I could take anymore.

But contrary to my general tone here, I’m not entirely bitter about my schooling experience. I left last year with fond feelings for the school I grew up in, warmth towards my cohort (especially the guys who’d ignored me the last three years and then tried to make out with me at Schoolies. I’m looking at you, guy who sat behind me in maths), and new friendships with teachers who I clung to like lifeboats when I realised fuck, I read the task sheet wrong and already wrote the whole essay.

So for those of you still in school – it sucks, I know, and is the antithesis of rad, but power through because the ‘real’ world may be big and dumb, but it’s also a place where you can pee without asking for permission, eat a whole cake for lunch if you wanted to (if you don’t cut it and just eat the whole thing with a fork it’s still technically one piece) and wear whatever coloured socks you damn well feel like. And for those who have only just graduated? Welcome to months on end free from the obligation of wearing pants.

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