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...