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A question for the Americans out there.

I am British. In my country it is a popular saying that "your schooldays are the best days of your life". While schoochildren may roll their eyes when told this, it is only because they have no comprehension of the horrors that await them come adulthood. By contrast it seems to be received wisdom in American culture that high school is terrible and things get better. Why the difference? I don't know much about the culture in American high schools, what I do know is largely drawn from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I don't think I have rose tinted spectacles when viewing my youth. I work as a teacher so have a lot of experience with school kids. I remember well how we were all afflicted with testosterone-psychosis - the feuds, constant violence and casual sadism. Also the gut wrenching sexual frustration. I am aware how horrifying the experience must have been for homosexuals, young women subject to constant male violence and children with abusive parents.

But for most of us there was something you never really get again. Fraternity. When you are with hundreds of your peers for five days a week you get the opportunity to form real relationships which have no parallel in adulthood. No matter if someone is a rival, a geek, (or god forbid has different music taste!), you are still bonded like brothers through shared experience. Just as brothers can be extremely violent to each other while sharing an unbreakable bond, so it is with school children. Like a mosh pit the playground has its own justice - be too much of a twat and everyone gets together and beats the shit out of you.

Schoolchildren, amidst all their aggressive, boisterous and irritating intensity, have a lot of admirable qualities sadly lacking in most adults - Courage, Self Respect and playful senses of humour. A good chunk of what adults tend to view as bullying is in my experience rage at a try hard who has sacrificed their dignity in order to please adults, and so betrayed their classmates. When I was at school, so long as you didn't think you were better than others, let everyone copy your homework and used your smarts to take the piss out of the teachers intelligence was something that got you respect, admiration and jealous rage.

What I remember most about my schooldays is the laughter. Everything was a joke, a game. Even the parts which were scary and not so nice were faced with a nervous giggle and nihilistic bravado. Never do adults play and make each other laugh the way teenagers do. So why is it so terrible being young in America?
Sure.

But in Britain prevailing opinion says adulthood and work sucks more than school, while in America people believe the opposite. I wonder why?
I miss highschool like hell. Even in my college years I was always nostalgic when I came early to find the classroom empty. I fucking miss highschool, all the japes in all the hours, cigarettes in every recess. Debating with the school principle on matters of history and politics. Putting money at common to buy Coca Cola, cigarettes, and food. Stealing sandwiches and treats from the usual guys, always asking for a pencil and rarely returning it. The bailing out to go in the park to drink bear and eat french fries and "mici". Oh, man, do I miss highschool.

chad7405

Helsworth Wrote:
I miss highschool like hell. Even in my college years I was always nostalgic when I came early to find the classroom empty. I fucking miss highschool, all the japes in all the hours, cigarettes in every recess. Debating with the school principle on matters of history and politics. Putting money at common to buy Coca Cola, cigarettes, and food. Stealing sandwiches and treats from the usual guys, always asking for a pencil and rarely returning it. The bailing out to go in the park to drink bear and eat french fries and "mici". Oh, man, do I miss highschool.

It depends more on the school than any other factor. Most Americans go to shitty public school, but I was refined enough (sarcasm) to go to private school with some really cool people I'm still friends with, and I agree with Helsworth; High School can and should be fun. I didn't get into any smoking or drugs, but the same can't be said about the underage sex KingSex

Underage sex?

Noplan

Surely, as in Europe, the age of consent is the age at which an 18+ adult can have sex with you. With other young teenagers you can do whatever you want? Please tell me that is correct. America can't be so moronic and barbaric as to prohibit teenagers from having sex?

What makes public schools so shitty? Isn't it still a cracking social life, even if the education part is horribly underfunded?

chad7405

BaktoMakhno Wrote:
What makes public schools so shitty? Isn't it still a cracking social life, even if the education part is horribly underfunded?

Only if you hang with the right people; that's "how we roll" I hated that aspect. Gangs and cliques are beyond stupid.

BaktoMakhno Wrote:
America can't be so moronic and barbaric as to prohibit teenagers from having sex?

And yet they do. We do it anyway, but we're not supposed to. Age for condoms is 16 and sex is 18, which is why everyone is pregnant; America doesn't understand that teens have sex and then refuse to accept it.

Jesus wept. As I'm a left wing extremist anyhow I try and I try not to think any worse of American society than I have to, but I keep discovering these things... Next you'll tell me that most babies still get their foreskins chopped because back in the day it was believed to reduce the risk of masturbation...

Cliques and rivalries we have in Britain too. Teenage boys invariably see themselves as the protagonists of their own Illiad or Beowulf. Petty Feuds between groups of mates are treated like epic sagas and your worth as a friend is measured by the amount of danger you are willing to endure and the scale of the violence you are willing to perpetrate in defense of your mates pride... Though tbh we always found it more funny than annoying or sad.

Rising Phoenix

BaktoMakhno Wrote:
[...]By contrast it seems to be received wisdom in American culture that high school is terrible and things get better. Why the difference?[...]

Now I am not from the United States, but I do hold a similar view myself.

Reasons:

1. My first high school was a "pure name/facade" one. It had some good people in it, but my classmates were by and larger bullies. Not as severe as in the movies (abuse was only verbal) but it is enough to ruin your day... On a daily basis, due to the fact that my voice at the time was really high-pitched (for a guy). Combine this with the usual teenager-vs-parents drama and you get a recipe for disaster.

2. By the time I got out of that school I had already become more mature and was starting to look forward to university. The environment and people were a lot better attitude-wise, even though they still "had fun" as many would say none of them were hostile, unfriendly, or disruptive. But as I said the problem is that by then I was looking forward, not 'now' anymore.

3. The noise. Oh, the freakin' noise. It was like someone grabbed mandrils, parrots, and grabbed some bizarre jungle beat and started jamming it all full volume while the animals held a screaming contest. Got better as the years went on, but was still annoying.

So yeah, I look forward to college. Screw early high school... I do not buy into that "conform even if you cannot or be made fun of" trash.

Oh, I forgot to add a very important observation. The highschool years I loved were from 9th grad to 13th grade. 5-8 I spent these years in a pretty elite high school. Needless to say, cliques were fucking awful. Everyone dissimulated, everyone back talked, everyone rated on you. And mostly everyone acted like a self-righteous/superior bitch vis-a-vis sex. To talk of masturbation was like to blaspheme against the "reactionary rules of coolness."
"Oh, sure, bring a Hustler tomorrow." But then afterwards. "Hey, I think I should rat on you for bringing it." Even though the fuck-tard browsed through all the pages.
Those years (5-8) I fucking hated. But as I came to know, after 8th grade, those hypocritical bastards turn their cards. Sex and japes about sex as the norm. Before that, one would make out of you a pariah, a dude obsessed with sex.

So anyway, after 8th grade I changed schools. A new school, one in which competition between pupils wasn't even a matter of concern. And I think, largely because of that, people were more relaxed, more open, more true to one another. We always helped each other out. Solidarity was high when it came to tests, to our financial and smoking rights. Wink

Rising Phoenix

TriniSary7 Wrote:

Rising Phoenix Wrote:
On a daily basis, due to the fact that my voice at the time was really high-pitched (for a guy).

Are you sure you are not gay?

Funny gay, you sir.

Vocal cords develop at their own pace. I cannot just one day say "I am now going to have the voice of Morgan Freeman!" and have just that. Now my pitch is far lower however so it is irrelevant.


Helsworth Wrote:
Oh, I forgot to add a very important observation. The highschool years I loved were from 9th grad to 13th grade. 5-8 I spent these years in a pretty elite high school. Needless to say, cliques were fucking awful. Everyone dissimulated, everyone back talked, everyone rated on you. And mostly everyone acted like a self-righteous/superior bitch vis-a-vis sex. To talk of masturbation was like to blaspheme against the "reactionary rules of coolness."
"Oh, sure, bring a Hustler tomorrow." But then afterwards. "Hey, I think I should rat on you for bringing it." Even though the fuck-tard browsed through all the pages.

Curiously, I was marginalized because I did not talk about sex all day like everybody else. It also drastically reduced my ability to relate to my peers.

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