Most Likely to Feel Very Old

This year (possibly this day to the day?) is the 10 year anniversary of the year that I graduated from high school. How?! HOW, I ASK YOU?!

I cannot believe how unbelievably old I am.

While high school was not my favorite time in my life, I still have some really great memories of high school. So in honor of my 10-year graduation anniversary, I asked my blogging buddy Bill if he also wanted to celebrate the years that we spent in high school (different high schools, at different times, but still). He enthusiastically agreed, although, when I told him the title of my post, his sassy response was one word: “Please.” Check out his post here!

As regular readers of my blog know, I’m all about once-in-a-lifetime experiences, even if I don’t appreciate they are once-in-a-lifetime until they’re over. This blog post in memoriam of my long gone high school years is sort of a compilation of 10 once-in-a-lifetime experiences, fun facts, awesome memories, and WTF moments. Reminisce about your high school experience along with me…

  1. Dance-a-thon

One of my high school besties, Sarah, and I were part of Key Club all four years of our high school careers. As members of the Key Club, one of the volunteer opportunities that we had was to go to a neighboring school and participate in their all-night dance-a-thon for ALS. Considering that we were two people who love to dance, we jumped on this opportunity. During our Sophomore and Junior years, we went to that neighboring school in an attempt to dance all night. 

Now, anyone who knows me will know that I essentially turn into a pumpkin after 10pm. While there are some nights I would love to stay up all night, there is nothing I can do to stay awake when my body is tired. Our Sophomore year, I tapped out around 10. I just wanted my bed and couldn’t imagine fighting off sleep for another 9 hours. Our Junior year, there was unfortunately a bomb scare at the neighboring school, so the dance-a-thon began a few hours later. Because of this delay, I was actually able to make it all night! This is one of the few times in my life that I’ve stayed awake the entire night, so I will remember it and be proud of it forever.

2. Some schedule massaging

You know how college is all about taking classes that you need to complete your major so you’re not spending time on courses you don’t actually need? I treated my high school experience like this as well. My junior year I took two sciences (Physics AP 1 and Anatomy and Physiology Honors) because I knew I wanted to major in science in college and I wanted to get Anatomy and Physics out of the way so that I didn’t have to take it senior year. Senior year, I took two foreign languages (French 4 and Spanish 2) and two math classes (Calculus AP and Statistics) because I knew that I was interested in those subjects as well. After my junior year, I refused to take any history classes. As Queen Nerd in my high school, people were surprised that I was taking one math course that wasn’t Honors or AP (someone actually asked me if I was in the wrong classroom), but none of the other Honors or AP courses appealed to me. I knew what I wanted and built my schedule around that.

3. George Washington was the first you see…

At my high school, every year, we had a competition called the AP Bowl for AP US History students. The juniors (who were in AP US History 2 about to take the AP test) would pick teams made up of other juniors, sophomores (taking AP US History 1), and seniors (who had already taken the test) to compete in a trivia-style game and answer questions from a deck of AP US History questions. As a sophomore in this competition, I learned something interesting. Whenever there was a question about a US president, the first fact about them listed was which number president they were. Thinking this knowledge was a great way to get a leg-up on the competition, I learned all of the presidents by number before the AP Bowl happened my junior year. And my team dominated. For anyone who’s curious, I did this using the Animaniacs song listing the US presidents.

My senior year, I was the first picked by the juniors to be on a team and compete, solely due to this knowledge. An important thing to note here would be — I was awful at history. I did not have much knowledge about anything else in my brain by senior year. When the moderators learned that I would be competing senior year, they avoided announcing which number president they were referring to when asking president-related questions. I was absolutely useless. It would probably have been humiliating had I not warned them long before that I was going to be useless besides knowing the presidents by number…

4. I went to four proms

I love to dance. I’ve loved to dance since I was 14. Since two of my closest friends from middle school went to another local high school, I told them that I wanted to go to prom at their school as well as prom at my school. Both Junior and Senior years, I went to prom at my high school as well as theirs. My senior year, I even brought one of those friends as my date to prom and got another person in my class to bring another one of my friends. My senior prom was awesomely orchestrated and I was surrounded by people I loved. It was perfectly coordinated…almost as perfectly coordinated as my best friend spinning me across the dancefloor so that my dress swished around me like Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

5. American Music Abroad

The summer between my junior and senior years of high school, my friend Sarah and I (yes, dance-a-thon Sarah) went on a program called American Music Abroad. With this program, we joined several other students from local high schools in learning a set of songs, then singing them together in various locations in Europe. We went to Germany, France, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland. It was an unbelievable trip and a once in a lifetime opportunity. We sang in all different churches, parks, and even at the site of the former concentration camp in Dachau. We actually had the privilege of coincidentally running into a German choir on the street and sang one of the songs that both of our choirs knew together. It was magical.

6. Bananas haunt me, for some reason

Last week, when I wrote about my weird food opinions, I mentioned that I don’t like bananas in things, but they’re okay if eaten alone, and I even mentioned that there was one in my high school locker. One morning my junior year, when I came into school, I saw a couple of fruit flies around my locker. Well, that’s weird…but like I always do, I decided to ignore the problem and hope that it solved itself. I didn’t bring food to school, so they couldn’t be in my locker. Maybe it was someone else’s! However, as you may know, fruit fly infestations don’t exactly “solve themselves.” I continued to see these fruit flies in my locker until I went home for one weekend and came back to an entire cloud of fruit flies dive-bombing me from my locker Monday morning. Eating fruit flies tends to make anyone rethink some life decisions, so I grabbed Sarah, found the janitor, and returned to my locker to figure out what could be going on.

Apparently, there was a banana rotting on one of the top shelves of my locker. I could hardly reach up on that shelf, much less see what was up there. While I don’t mind eating bananas, I definitely never brought one to school. I considered the possibility that it was a snack one of my friends accidentally left in my locker when taking the SATs at my high school, but she swears that it wasn’t her banana. This remains a mystery that haunts me to this day.

7. The only gym class worth going to

I’ve written before about how I love dancing, and therefore I loved the line dance unit in gym class. Every year, I would look forward to the one unit where I actually wanted to try in gym class and had a buttload of fun. I would even skip periods like lunch and study hall in order to go to my friends’ gym classes and dance with them. Sarah and I would do something we called “line hopping,” where we would try to cover as much of the gym as we could in one song. It was a blast. Our senior year, the gym teacher even asked us to create a line dance for the class to do. We made one to the song Another Night by the Real McCoy. We even had a few days of square dancing at the end of the line dance unit, which was also really fun. I remember our senior year, one of my friends bribed me to be included in my 8-person square with a slice of tiramisu. It worked, too…I will do almost anything for tiramisu. When we voted on superlatives our senior year, I charged the head of the yearbook committee and demanded to know the reason why there was no “Best Dancer “ superlative. Okay, so “demanded to know” is a bit strong, but I was not happy.

8. Renata: The Bunny Savior

My junior and senior years of high school, I took Physics 1 and 2. While I was absolutely awful at Physics, the teacher was absolutely awesome and one of the sweetest people you could ever meet (who was at the same time, very no-nonsense). A lot of us hung out in her room during lunch or study hall or homeroom because her classroom felt like a safe haven. Well one day, she pulled me behind her desk and showed me that she had a baby bunny in a fish tank with some blankets. The bunny had been in a nest outside her house that was ravaged by a hawk. She had no idea how to feed him and requested that I find a way to get some baby bunny food at the local pet store. So I asked around (because I didn’t have a car, and probably not a license either, at the time) and found one of the other students in my physics classes that was willing to take me. We raced to the local PetSmart and brought back some formula and a syringe. That bunny went on to live a long and happy life with my teacher’s family.

9. You know I had to leave a sentimental note…

As you may know, I’ve always been a writer. I like to document many of the moments in my life by writing about them. I also am extremely sentimental, so the cheesier this writing can be, the better. When leaving high school, I wrote a several page letter all about my experience there, and intended to leave this letter in my locker so that the next resident that moved in could read all about the last resident’s experience. What? I’ve warned you that I’m sentimental.

The problem was that once my locker was fully cleaned out, I wasn’t allowed back in the building, and my note hadn’t been completed by that point. I gave Sarah the combination to my locker and had her sneak the letter into it while she was in the building cleaning out her own. Since the lockers had to undergo inspection, she tucked it carefully inside the door to hide it. I have no idea if a student saw it, but last I heard, the principal found it and held onto it. Considering how much of a goodie two-shoes I am, she’s pretty much always been a fan of mine.

10. Most Likely to Deliver a Sappy Speech

When you’re in a small school, not only does everyone know each other, but everyone knows each other’s grades as well. Ever since our sophomore year, the top students in the class were aware of their ranks and everyone else’s in the top 5. The problem was that I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to put more pressure on an already stressful high school experience. Unfortunately, that wasn’t totally an option with competitive colleagues and nosy guidance counselors. I was #1 and everyone knew it. I was even voted “Most Likely to Succeed.”

Towards the end of our senior year, it was time to start writing my speech. I always dreamed of making a big speech to my class, but I never thought I’d actually do it! I am TERRIFIED of public speaking. My English teacher assured me that I didn’t have to speak if I didn’t want to, but I just knew I would regret it if I didn’t. FOMO and all that. 

So I wrote a speech with as much audience participation as possible. I wanted teachers to be able to come up and talk about our class, but they wouldn’t allow that, so I settled for reading testimonials. I had students in my class do a call-and-answer. I even stashed sunglasses under their chairs so that at the end, when I said “I hope your future is so bright that you need to wear shades,” everyone could actually put on shades (this, in particular, made for some pretty epic pictures).

I’ve always been a fan of cheesy motivational stuff, so I just took that love and channeled it into a fun, down-to-earth speech. Not to toot my own horn, but it did kinda rock. And it showed me that I not only could do public speaking, but also that I was decent at it…and actually enjoyed it! After I finished that speech, I had never felt so proud. This gave me the gumption to write and deliver a speech for my college Baccalaureate as well. I mean, the theme was “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” I couldn’t not write a speech!

renata holding a rose with a black dress on
My favorite graduation picture that didn’t make it into the yearbook…yes, I know I look way tanner than I actually am…

I hope this post gave you a lovely stroll down memory lane of your own high school experience. I want to give a big CONGRATULATIONS to anyone who is graduating from high school, college, grad school, or any other program! Also, feel free to share any of your favorite memories in the comments!

9 thoughts on “Most Likely to Feel Very Old

  1. That is fantastic! As another Queen Nerd, I had to give a speech at graduation. It didn’t bother me, because I was captain and MVP of the conference champion speech team…but they never had us practice outside. Hello reverb! It was, um, not what they expected from the captain of the speech team!

    Liked by 1 person

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