Sunday, January 22, 2012

Freshman and Sophomore Years of High School

What a descriptive (and very thoroughly not catchy) title I gave this post.  I couldn't decide on anything else.

I really should be blogging more frequently, especially since I have posts fucking written out that just need to be typed up.  I should also give you posts with more substance but as I seem to do when everyone goes to their respective corners of the country, I'm thinking through some personal stuff currently.  I should also also go to bed instead of writing since I'm going to breakfast with Lana tomorrow morning since she's in town for an interview.

As far as posts go this is going to be more of a story telling one.  I realized when talking to Lana how little I talk about my first two years of high school.  I'm not sure if they're really upsetting or traumatizing anymore, but for a long while, those years were just a time span I didn't like to think all.  My freshman and sophomore year I went to a prestigious Catholic school.  I ended up transferring after my sophomore year, not because the school work was too hard (I came out of the school with a 4.0), but because the administration was absolutely ruining the school (this has since stopped I believe).

The school my freshman year wasn't actually completely horrible in regards to administration, but what they were teaching me shook me to the core.  The math, the science (although freshman year science was taught by a priest which kinda.......sucked), the languages, they were all easy.  And by that, I mean the material was quite challenging, but ultimately it was taught in a format that I knew and was comfortable with.

It was history and English and religion with which I had problems.  This was always sorta strange to me because in junior high (and 11th and 12th grades minus religion) those were always my favorite classes.  But they were taught in a large group setting of around 50 kids and co-taught by two teachers.  We switched somewhat fluidly between subjects and we had this class about twice as often as every other class.  In the class they talked about not taking religion literally.  And it will probably sound really funny to some people, but this was a hard concept for me freshman year.  I had been taught that every story in the Bible literally happened, exactly as was stated in the Bible.  But in that class we talked about symbolism (enough that it my brain want to explode).  We talked about questioning every single possible assumption.  We talked about thinking critically and ways to do so.  And thinking back, this was crucial for me to learn but it was an incredibly painful and frustrating process for me.  It was bad enough that my frustration with the teaching as well as the fact that I had few to no friends almost drove me to transfer after freshman year.

Sophomore year I made friends, which was a relief.  I didn't hang out with them much outside of school until the end of the year, but at least I had people to eat with at lunch.  Let me tell you, eating alone or next to a group of people fucking sucks.  But beyond that, my sophomore year the school had almost entirely new administration.  Some people had retired, others had been fired.  I'm not entirely clear on the details, partially because I wasn't privy to all of them.  In short my sophomore year was a disaster.  We lost 75% of our senior class the summer before that year (we had a graduate early program than most of them did, the rest transferred) because things were projected to be bad..  We realized we had illegal aliens attending an important private school (I'm still not sure how that happened), we had a horrible horrible sexual harassment scandal within the ASB, we had a sexual abuse case between a teacher and student, we had a lockdown because there were threats from people with guns, and we had a sit-in and a walk-out protesting all the terrible things that were happening that year.

(I think I will maybe tell some of these stories more fully later because a lot of them are fairly interesting.  I also have an abuse story about the people on my volleyball team that wasn't included in my above list.  Also, while I'm thinking about it, I can tell some interesting stories about my travels for volleyball too.  A lot of these are good stories which I've just never thought to tell my friends.)

The story I do want to tell in detail (mainly because it's short) regards dress code.  Now, my school had a typical: all shoulder straps must be three fingers wide, all skirts must be down to your knees, etc policy my freshman year.  But, my sophomore year we got a new assistant principal and she was all about "appropriate dress" and "family values" (put in quotes because they're buzz words, not because the concepts themselves are completely invalid).  The first new piece of the dress code she added was: no flip flops.  Flips flops after all are "shower shoes" and are "dangerous, tripping hazards" and are not "appropriate attire for school".  People pretty much ignored this rule until a bunch of people ended up in detention (yes, my school actually had detention, it's the only one I've heard of in these days that did).  Even some girls on the soccer team who were wearing flip flops after changing out of their cleats got put in detention.  It was ultimately really ridiculous.

Eventually matters got so ridiculous with the dress code that students began requesting uniforms.  So much of our dress freedom had been taken away from us, a uniform would have been a relief rather than trying to find clothes that worked with the new dress code.  You see, for one final example, the next thing to change after no flip flops was shirt necklines.  And the rule was not anything semi, quasi reasonable like: you cannot show even part of your cleavage or anything of the sort.  Instead the rule was: You cannot wear shirts that expose your clavicle.  Your clavicle! Where your neck connects to your torso.  Yeah.  That's completely inappropriate.

Please take a look at the shirt your wearing.  Odds are very very high that your clavicle is exposed.  Most of my t shirts expose my clavicle (though to be fair part of that has to do with how my breast fit in shirts (hint: they don't)).  When that announcement was made, guys were looking down at their shirts and realizing their shirts didn't conform to dress code.  At least the dress code was enforced equally.  Guys and girls got detention for breaking the clavicle rule.  And the thing is, the dress code just kept getting more strict after this incident.

It was fairly intense but also something we secretly laughed about because: OH NO! Clavicles are just too damn sexy and corrupting.

1 comment:

  1. FWIW Travis and Evelyn both had detention in their high schools. Maybe the west coast is just super progressive?