High school: Why didn’t anyone warn us?

Behind the scenes to the seemingly simple question, "What is high school like?"

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High school: Why didn’t anyone warn us?

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“What is high school like?” one of Mrs. Baker’s third graders asks me. My mind begins to race. There are so many possible answers but the one I respond with now is capable of determining how this group of nine year olds will view high school over the next couple years. In response to their question I ask them if they want the truth or a cliche answer. Like a horse wants to run, they wanted the truth. Now I think, what IS high school really like? What is the truth? I think back to a scene from one of my favorite movies of all time, “Dead Poets Society.” It is the moment where Mr. Keating pulls Todd up to the front of the class to present his poetry assignment. Todd says he didn’t do the assignment but Keating doesn’t accept that. After a Walt Whitman quote and some motivational jargon, Todd finds himself, his truth.

“Truth. Truth is like, like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold,” Todd says. “Y-Y-Y-You push it, stretch it, it’ll never be enough. You kick at it, beat it, it’ll never cover any of us. From the moment we enter crying to the moment we leave dying, it will just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream.”

I think to this scene and look at the young pupils who are growing frustrated with the time I take to answer a question that they thought to be so simple. However to them, I am God and they are philosophers pondering the meaning of life. When they think of high  school, images from the instant classic “High School Musical” pop into their heads. They could not be further off. Why does this happen? Is it from awful parents who never closed the year book? Parents who say that those were the “best four years of their life?” This is likely. It is one of the most asinine thoughts anyone could ingrain in a young child’s malleable mind. We need to prepare our children as we do our soldiers. High school is a battle that for most, is a blood bath.

When elementary schoolers think about high school, they should picture scenes from, “Saving Private Ryan,” “Silence of the Lambs,” “Jaws,” or “Carrie.”

I’m about to enlighten these youths and give them the truth when Mrs. Baker gives me this look, it could cut a redwood down to the roots, it said, “don’t you dare.” Looking back to the eager young students, I had no choice but sell out.

“High school is great. You have so much more freedom but more work, even though there isn’t any recess, the food is so much better.”

This…this was the answer they were looking for and this hurt me deeply.