But this week, we are back with a vengeance. Well, maybe not a vengeance, but we are back anyway. Aaaand actually we've just learned that this is the last one, so hey we're back for one!
I loved high school so much. I had good friends, loved my classes and activities, was good at school which helped, was the thinnest I've ever been in my life and spent my days zipping around in Jerome (my car, read the post!). My favourite class (besides choir, we were Glee before Glee was Glee, fool) was Advanced Placement European History. It just sounds super exciting, right? Besides the basic reasons I loved the class (Europe schools America in history SO hard!) it was the way Mr. Stan made everything come to life.
|Riding a flamingo on Mr. Stan's lawn in high school|
My favourite thing we did in AP Euro was when learning about the Luddites, who protested against newly developed labour-saving machinery from 1811 to 1817 by destroying the new technoogy - we brought in our own technology (that we no longer needed or worked), and took to it with axes and giant hammers! Talk about an affective lesson! I brought in an old microwave I think, and we smashed it to bits. Just so cool.
Mr. Stan had a bust of Lenin on his desk throughout the year, and on my last day of school, I took him and left a ransom note saying he was going travelling for the summer - I took him with me on my family trip to Europe, photographed him in front of landmarks and in funny positions, and sent them to Mr. Stan weekly with an email address I set up - firstname.lastname@example.org. It was so awesome, and a friend of mine later took him on another trip and took over the email.
OMG I am such a nerd.
There are a few memories that stand out from my entire time at secondary school. In the UK, secondary school goes from ages 11 - 16 - so for me they were probably my most formative years.
When I started secondary school I was unlucky enough to be separated from my primary school best friend due to a mix up in Sam's. We had the chance to pick a friend to be put in a tutor group with and I put Sam - my best friend of 5 years and ended up with a Sam I barely knew - sad times! On the plus side, I was put in a tutor group with a girl I knew from my swimming club - so at least I had someone.
It turned out that was not the blessing I thought it was. The girl - lets refer to her as W - had come with her own group of friends and none of them welcomed me as a new friend. In fact, as school goes they saw me as a threat and did not want me around. In the first week when I accidentally put my arm through a Bunsen burner - subsequently burning off my entire sleeve - they took great joy in coming up with all kinds of fire related names, all unpleasant!
For two years I took their unpleasantness and bullying and as we did a lot of classes in our tutor groups so I could never escape them. They trapped me in lockers, 'lost' my homework and did everything they could to make going to school horrible. The thing was I realised pretty quickly I didn't want to be W's friend, but I was trapped in classes with few other people to turn to.
As the years went on classes became divided by ability and I gradually found new friends. It was this time that stood out to me over any other. One nondescript day I had a geography class and as usual we were passing a notebook of notes along the row of girls I was sat with. On the row was a girl I hadn't met till that class but she became my confidant. I still have the notebooks and find it funny looking back at how she invited me to join her group.
At lunch time that day we had agreed I would very publicly leave where I sat with my old group and join her group. It's so funny looking back - I doubt anyone really cared but for me the moment was huge. As I play it back in my mind, the whole of my year fell silent as I packed up my stuff and took the 10 steps from old bitchy group to new friends. I never looked back. The new group were all so friendly I wondered how I had never got to know them before.
From that moment onwards, my school life changed forever, I had real friends. Friends who wanted me to hang out after school and wanted me to be part of their group and most of all share opinions. Year later the old group and I found a way of making friends - I even went on to live with W, but that's a whole other story!