As can be deduced by the title, this isn’t the only post. The first is found here.

Switching schools never really brought out the best in me, but this switch was probably the most worrisome. Every year since the fifth or sixth grade, my teachers had been telling me that high school was going to be horrible so I’d best get used to everything being hard. I’ve always hated when adults used fear to control children. It’s nice for those kids who take reality checks in stride and adjust their behavior appropriately in preparation, but those of us who are… prone to overreacting, take those warnings and feed them until they become huge, ugly monsters that scratch away at you from the inside until you have nothing left inside but suspicion and paranoia…

You think I’m exaggerating, but I can’t walk down a sidewalk within a mile of anyone else without shouting “STRANGER DANGER” in my head a thousand times a second.

Anyhow, I went into my first year at the local high school thinking that I was going to be living in Hell for three years. It didn’t take very long for me to discover that I’d been constantly lied to. With the exception of my math classes (as always), I was in love with high school. There were so many things I liked about it, I wasn’t sure if the rest of public school hadn’t been an elaborate joke. Fortunately, I don’t have to do it in reverse order or I think I would go mad.

For one thing, the environment was a lot more relaxed than middle school. They don’t make as big of a deal about being late, which may not be such a great thing, but it takes away a little of the feeling of being rushed. Not to mention if you get the teachers to like you, you can get a lot of your tardies… ignored. Not to say that they like it when you’re tardy, they just don’t take down your name there in the hallway and make you come up with a reason for being late. In middle school, they gave us “points” when we were late to class and if you had a certain amount of points, stuff would happen.

I wouldn’t imagine it to be the same for every high school, but I guess that’s the advantage of living in a less-populated area. There aren’t as many kids in my high school as most and it’s awesome. For the most part, they don’t make you do getting-to-know-you activities at the beginning of the year or trimesters because we’d had the same people in our classes for four years at least, so we didn’t need to reacquaint ourselves with each other. Of course, I still find myself staring at someone I’ve known for six or seven years and not remember their name for the longest time.

One of my favorite things about my first year of high school was being able to take classes with the higher grades. Even though they weren’t that much smarter or more mature than the kids my age were, they were still better behaved and a lot of them were interested in things I am interested in. There was a fantastic new pool of friends for me to discover.

It just felt friendlier on the whole. That first year, half of our school building was being totally rebuilt and they didn’t have some of it done.  This meant that there were no maps available for the incoming sophomores (only the top three grades go to our high school). It wasn’t as bad as the year before when most of the construction was happening and some of the hallways were completely inaccessible  which meant that the kids would have to take wide detours to get to class, but it was still pretty horrible, especially for the person who likes to memorize her schedule and where her classrooms are a month or two in advance. Fortunately, the seniors and juniors at the time were more than willing to help us little kids find our classrooms. I managed to figure it out, though I’m not sure how. I’m pretty sure I just walked around the building until I found a room with the correct name over the doorway.

Another thing I liked about my first year of high school was that I quickly developed a reputation. I was the girl who read things constantly and (a little later in the year) wrote things. I was also one of the privileged few sophomores who got to be thought of as not stupid. As a senior now, I know how badly the sophomores are labeled as morons because I do it sometimes too. To be fair to myself, though, there aren’t a lot of sophomores who aren’t always doing something dorky.

Having more freedom to choose my classes was also a great thing because it started me down the path of taking the science classes that I would find interesting, the english classes that wouldn’t drive me nuts, and the multi-media classes that would fill in all my elective credits. Not that Orchestra wouldn’t have done it for me. You’re only required to take three classes for your fine arts credits and I took that many every year. Looking back at all the random computer classes I took, I’m surprised I had enough room in my schedule to get all the other credits I needed to graduate. Of course, I do have oodles of friends who graduated early… most likely because they didn’t take a hundred thousand extra elective classes.

That first year was very good for me. I made connections with people that would benefit me within the next year and a half and I learned a lot of things about how life works so now I can solve problems effectively, though somewhat sporadically. I swear, I succeed at stuff by stumbling around doing things without really knowing why I do them.

Next episode in the series.

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