Monday, October 23, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: Good

This week's promt inspired a hundred different writing possibilities in my mind. Some of the takes I've considered are profound, others are light-hearted. I even considered doing a list of all the good food I can cook. :)

One thing keeps coming up, though. It's pretty random. It's a song that came out when I was in 8th or 9th grade by a band called Better than Ezra, appropriately called "Good." This wasn't just a good song - it was a great song. Even now I remember all the lyrics. It started with a catchy bass line, then progressed into an even catchier chorus that was all but unintelligible. My friend Meghan bought the cd and later let me in on the lyrics so I wouldn't have to sing along with the song using invented lyrics. The best part of the song, and the inspiration for the title, is when the lead singer belts out, "It was gooooooood, living with you, a-huh. It was gooooooood, oh-oh-a." Or something like that.

This song reminds me of the fun parts of high school - getting ready for dances, lacing up my first pair of Doc Martens, going to house parties with older friends and feeling like I was the shit, watching the movie "The Crow" obsessively, figuring out that the hot senior in jazz band liked me back, decorating the inside of my locker with photos and clip-outs from magazines, hanging out in public parks after midnight...

I was lucky in high school. I was always the girl that got along with everyone but didn't belong to any of the cliques. I hung out with people in my own class as well as people 3 and 4 years ahead of me - always the old soul. The popular crowd liked me because I liked to party and was always traveling to exotic destinations, I was friendly with all the nerds because we had advanced math class together, I got along with the goths and drama crowd because I was an odd bird in my own ways, always glad to go against the norms of life in a private high school.

Life was good back then. Simple, though at the time it felt like the world was about to end at least 4 times a week.

I never graduated from high school. I went on exchange to Brasil during my junior year, then decided while I was abroad that I just couldn't handle going back to the Academy after the experience I'd just had. I was fiercely independent, with a new and broader perspective on life. I wanted to go straight to college.

This is one of the little-known facts in the US that I wish more people were aware of. You can go to college without graduating from high school AND without getting a GED. I never did. The only requirements are that you have a sufficient number of upper-level credits (basically finishing your classes through junior year), that you take the required national exams (SATs and/or ACTs), and that you write your essays and fill in your applications for the university of your choice just like any other prospective student. Interestingly, this is a trend that runs in the family. My mom also didn't graduate from high school and went on to be a PhD candidate.

I left high school early because I felt like I'd suffocate in that environment if I went back after my time in Brasil, despite the fact that I actually liked high school and went to a place where I was getting a great education. A lot of people doubted my decision at the time, but I feel it was absolutely the right one.

I sit and think about how many kids *do* suffer in high school - are picked on, harrassed, and made to feel like shit on a daily basis by a bunch of insensitive people that are sadly at the highlight of their lives. How many of those kids would benefit from knowing they can go straight to college? To a place where there are dozens of freaks and geeks and people of every imaginable cultural background and lifestyle. To an environment where they are no longer alone...

Life in high school was good, but I'm glad I left it behind a year early. Get the word out...

9 comments:

Alina said...

I would have loved to be able to do that! High-school was fun at times, but eventually get bored when there is one boy in your whole class and he is so manly that he's called the dragonfly-woman :D
Just kidding, I would have missed being one of the high-school's stars as I was a member of the Latin-lovers group, going to contest in the country or abroad. That's how I got to see Rome

la vie en rose said...

this is news to me. and i think you're right...there are so many kids dying in high school and they have no idea that there is a whole different world out there where all the high school dynamics loose their power. they are hurting so badly in the present that they aren't able to believe there is a future that is different and holds so many new possibilities.

paris parfait said...

Excellent point, Ali! Lots of people would benefit from this choice.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

I'm glad I finished up high school, though I was so over-credited by the end that I just kind of faded away by senior year, showing up only to take gym for a couple months straight to make the MA graduation requirements. I did skip a year of college and I think that was (among many) a mistake.

I totally remember Better than Ezra, though I remember them more for the song "Desperately Wanting"

I think my quintissential high school memory song is still Eleanor McEvoy's "Precious Little"...among many, lol.

chiefbiscuit said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog & your nice comments - I have come to visit you back, and have really enjoyed the read! Thanks!
You sound a very independent, compassionate person - someone nice to know. I will be back to read more.

Ali la Loca said...

~Alina - How cool you got to go to Rome with your school!

~La Vie - Imagine how many kids would flourish in college that currently drop out of high school and end up at a dead end in terms of education/employment. Then again, there are the Bill Gates of the world that don't need a formal education at all...

~Paris Parfait - Agreed. Como anda la vida sevillana??

~Monkey - Which year of college did you skip? Technically I doubled up on a year, so I finished my BA + MBA in 5 years instead of 6. Many times I wish I'd done the regular thing, take 2 years between undergrad and MBA program, chill out a bit. I think I'd have been able to get much more out of the MBA program. But at the same time, it's opening doors for me now and I am having a pretty chilled out phase of my life, so I suppose I have no complaints in the end.

~chiefbiscuit - Thanks for visiting!

Amber said...

Oh my gosh! I can think of so many kids I have known who would have been so happy to move on! And done well, too. I really think our school system is not set up right, for a lot of kids. A lot of kids are not headed to a university at all-- actually most!only 20 percent of Americans go-- but school is set up to make them feel like losers. I wish we had a system more like Europe, where kids could choose to train for mentorships and empolyment. And you are right that a lot of kids are just ready to move on to higher education, too. For me it wasn't the kids that made life hard for me, but some of the teachers. One was horrible to me! And I was living alone, working at night, paying rent and struggling so hard all alone, just so I could finish and graduate. No one cared! If I had known I could have just moved on? Umm, bye! Pft.

Your life continues to amaze me.

ox :)

Safiya said...

Ahh, that song is stuck in my head now! I wondered what ever happened to them?

Ali la Loca said...

~Amber - I know, and think of how many other people out there would have moved on too. I was lucky to have a lot of really good, kind teachers in my high school. Still, it wasn't the place I wanted to be for another year...

~Safiya - "Good" to know I'm not the only one that remembers that song!