It’s Okay To Love High School

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I have a shameful secret to reveal. I. LOVED. HIGH. SCHOOL. Oh my god, what?! Who said that? I hated high school. I was so misunderstood and such an outcast. Everyone hated me because I only listened to Mazzy Star and wore mismatched Puma shoes! Don’t make me go back there!

No JK though, I actually loved my high school years. I mean, freshman year sucked because I had no friends and spent all my time renting Queer As Folk “for the storylines” at my local Blockbuster but the rest of high school rocked. Youth wasn’t wasted on me. In fact, I embraced it. I was an unabashed emotional, horny, bitchy, insane teenager and I loved/ blogged every crazy moment of it.

I didn’t have a lot of friends in high school but I certainly didn’t feel uncool. Maybe it’s because I went to a magnet school for smart kids that banned sports and only focused on academics. The atypical set up created a social about-face that allowed the smart funny kids to be popular rather than the jocks. Our pep rallies were for academic achievements instead of sports, and people were looked down upon for not being in Honors or AP classes. It was a place that prized brain over brawn, which was perfect for a weird closeted gay kid like me.

Senior year was the best mostly because I started having sex and had a schedule that allowed me to leave school at 12:30 every day. Junior year was actually the toughest because I had to take AP tests, PSATS, ACTs, ACT II’s, and SAT’s. I spent my weekends at school taking practice tests that year and it blew major 16-year-old balls. There was so much pressure to get into a good school, which is weird in retrospect, because I only ended up applying to a crappy state school. All of that hard work ended up not mattering because I just wanted to live in San Francisco. Sorry Mom and Dad/ my brain!

Talking to people now, I realize that my situation wasn’t common. Everyone loves to talk about how much they loathed high school and only really came into their own in college. I feel really lucky to have attended a school that embraced my quirks. I came out of the closet before I began my senior year and I wasn’t even bullied once. There were so many actual freaks at my school who played Magic cards and wore raver pants that being gay didn’t seem like such a big deal comparatively.

I used to feel weird about loving high school as much as I did. Wasn’t I supposed to be like Daria and spend all my time in my room feeling lost in translation? Instead, I thrived and got nominated for a bunch of superlatives, had a boyfriend, and a really good group of friends. The shame! I feel good about it now though and you should too. There’s no need to earn your stripes or have battle scars. Being a teenager in high school wasn’t fun all the time and I wouldn’t do it over again if I could, but it was still a really dreamy fun time that I look back on with fondness. TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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