“Little Fish, Big Pond”

Once I became accustomed to the new grade school, I settled in and, since the school went through eighth grade, spent the rest of my elementary years there. Then it was off to the high school on the right, a large one putting together graduates from five grade schools. After finally figuring out how to navigate the small school, I now found myself bewildered by the huge new place with its endless hallways, double staircases, raucous cafeteria and loud bells to signal class periods starting and stopping. Worse yet, only four minutes were allowed between classes which were often at opposite ends of the other floor. Running was forbidden, but we really hustled.

I soon discovered that graduates from one grade school ruled the place, and I hadn’t attended that one. After realizing that social standing was impossible, I immersed myself in studies. The curriculum was challenging since there accelerated offerings in most courses. Eventually accelerated offerings would be eliminated being blamed for “shaming” less academically capable students. But it gave me a steady cohort of friends and an identity. Yes it was an identity as a “grind,” a  dateless grind at that, but I felt at home.

The best years of my life? No way. And I will always find myself bewildered by those who claim that title for high school.


21 thoughts on ““Little Fish, Big Pond”

  1. We don’t have the same high school system. But the school I attended from the ages of 11-17 was definitely one of the best times of my life. I actually enjoyed going to school every day, even after the age of 15, when we moved away and I had to commute by using trains and buses.,
    Sorry your High School experience was not as good.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I lived in the same neighborhood and attended grade school (K – 6) and junior high (7 – 9) with the same group of friends. Then we moved across town before high school (10 – 12) and I had to start all over. It worked out fine and I made new friends but I still treasure those early school days the most.


  3. We had a selective secondary education system in which children were sent at 11 to either grammar school (thought to be clever) or modern school (not thought clever). It was blatant social engineering which broke friendships – both for children and their parents. The quality of education was great for the lucky minority (in which I was), but the selection process was inaccurate and blighted a lot of futures.


  4. I hated high school. It was the late 60s and early 70s. Lots of racial fighting, pot smoking, and too many less than caring teachers. I graduated early to go to junior college and felt challenged for the first time in years. The year after I left, I talked to my former counselor and she told me about the burning of the principal’s car. I was so glad to be out of there.


  5. I put my time in at high school like a guy punching his time card. It was not the favorite time of my life either. I found myself in college and oddly became a teacher even though I generally did not like school that much when I was younger.


  6. I remember when those advanced classes and tracking went away. Fitting in was so important. If you weren’t part of the clique, there was band or drama or debating clubs. The big pond was really hard.


  7. I think high school is a very difficult time for many youngsters, Elizabeth. There is huge pressure to conform and assume the same identity as all your peer group, many of whom are in the driving seat are not to be admired at all. I didn’t enjoy high school as I am very non-conformist. Fortunately, I have never really worried to much about what other people think of me so I survived.


    1. I only went to one reunion, of my 20th year. I was amazed at how poorly some of the popular kids had done and how well some of the less popular ones had thrived once out of school.

      Liked by 1 person

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