High school was something I really had to fight for, for the first time in my life. I didn’t want to go to the same school as all the people I grew up with, so with a teachers nudging, I tried to get into a local “special” school. I had been in advance classes all my life, and I was lucky enough to have a very caring teacher in middle school, to help me find direction.
I had the same teacher two years in a row for English and Science, she was a very involved teacher, and her classes were always fun. She saw me for the intelligent, but anti-social child that I was, and helped me grow out of my shell. She was very good at finding assignment’s that worked well for each student, and I always picked things up quickly in her classes. In my seventh grade year, she announced that she would be leaving our school, and taking a teaching position at a local high school for advance students. I was very sad to see her go, and unhappy that I wouldn’t get to have her as a teacher anymore. She told me that I was smart enough to go to the school she would be teaching at, and told me to apply when I graduated, and offered to write a recommendation letter for me.
When I graduated from middle school, I applied for the special school, and was denied. My grades were not up to their standards, so they would not be allowing me to attend. I was pissed to say the least; I found my classes boring, and easy. I slacked off because I already knew what my teachers had to say, and my grades reflected it. I talked to my school counselor about it. She and I had become fairly friendly over the years, having been in her office multiple times, for not getting along with other students. She understood my problem, and offered to help me re-apply with her recommendation, and I contacted my old teacher for another recommendation. The school decided that I was at least worth interviewing, and allowed me to come and discuss why I belonged in their school. I must have done well because they accepted me on the spot.
My freshman year in high school was a completely different experience than any other year in school. I was finally in a school with like-minded freaks and geeks, who were all closet nerds. I wasn’t as much of an outcast among them; the school was made entirely of outcast kids from all the local schools. It consisted of kids who were passionate about knowledge in some form or another, and had made the choice to go there. It was a very empowering feeling, not having to dumb down your language, or act a certain way so people wouldn’t judge you.
The school was all about personal accountability, there were no bells; you went to class because you knew it was time, and if you were late it was your fault. There were no hall passes; the students were trusted to do what was required of them. Students didn’t have to lug around backpacks full of books, they all had copies at home and in class, making lockers unnecessary. Sports were not even offered, saving me from the horrors of P.E. Instead students had to spend an amount of hours every semester at the gym, or participating in their chosen athletic activity.
I was very happy there. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all sugar and daisies. Every school has bullies, and every school has a popular crowd. The social ladder just wasn’t as high there, and it was much easier for everyone to be themselves. I was able to get away from the nicknames and rumors I had grown up with, and have a bit of a fresh start. I made new friends, and had a decent social circle of fun, silly, lovable people.
So what if some of the less desirable people I grew up happened to go there to right? Remember those “You Could Be So Pretty” girls? How about the guy from “Used”? I had a bit of a hard time because they all went to this school. I felt like I had this huge crowd of popular kids I had to avoid because of some stupid incident that had happened a long time ago. It shouldn’t have held me back, but it did. I was incredibly shy around all of them, and was constantly afraid that I was being judged. Why that mattered, I have no idea, but back then, it seemed like a pretty big deal to me. You shouldn’t let people affect you like that. Who cares if other people judge you, you should be free to be yourself, regardless of other people’s personal opinions. It really makes sense in hindsight, but I guess that’s why we all have these crazy life lessons where you figure out the bigger picture.
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