Catholic School: How Did I End up Here? (Pt. 1)

"I want you to know, when it comes to believing in god - I really tried. I really really tried. I tried to believe that there is a god who created each one of us in his own image and likeness, who loves us very much and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that, but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize.....something is FUCKED UP. Something is WRONG here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, poverty, torture, crime, corruption and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong." ~George Carlin (American comedian, social critic, actor, author)

Grade seven and eight. Pivotal years in the life of a young person - years where you are developing your identity and forming lifelong friendships. Two years where I was removed from everything and everyone I knew since Kindergarten. Talk about a horrifying experience for a girl just entering into her teens and, not only was I moved to a different school in a different town, it was an all-girls Catholic school. WTF (when I was a teenager, WTF hadn't entered into pop culture - we simply would have said the entire sentence).

My older sister was pretty much a fantastically good kid when we were younger (and the coolest big sister ever, as I remember it). And, not "good" in the "goodie two-shoes" kinda way; she was simply a good person, a good sister. But, she began to experience some minor academic struggles in her Jr. High years. I was the kid who things came easily to; I didn't have to study much and I generally did well in school with very little effort (except in math, in that area I was a dummy). My sister's had to try a little harder and this became evident when she was in grade 9 in the public school system. Grade 9 is a difficult academic year for a lot of kids, as you are preparing to learn more difficult concepts in high school, and my sister was challenged in her ninth year at school.

Here's where the confusing part comes in: somehow, my sister's experiences in school translated into my parents deciding to put ME in private school, where I could get a "better education." Now, I wasn't having any difficulties in school - academically or socially - so it would have made sense to me (and probably my sister, who eventually attended the same school I did and flourished) that my parents would leave me where I was to invest extra money and time into helping my sister. However, for some reason in my grade 7 year, I found myself as the "new kid" at school and my sister continued to attend public school where she also continued to struggle. Go figure.

And, I hated it. In the summer after the completion of grade 6, I was contacted by a girl who attended the school I would be going to in the coming Fall. She had been a student there since she started Kindergarten at the age four and, therefore, had been assigned to be an "angel" to new girls arriving at the school. Basically, her role was to be your friend and to show you the ropes when the school year started, which struck me as an odd gesture. A forced friend. Weird. However, this did come in handy in terms of "learning the ropes," as Catholic school turned out to be much different than public school. Some of these differences included uniforms, morning prayers, religion class, and a girl running up and down the halls - swinging a bell - to indicate the change in classes (as opposed to the "normal" intercom system I was accustomed to). Over time, the bell actually grew on me - as did other aspects of school; however, I never knew that there were parts that I enjoyed until I was old enough to appreciate the experience. Given this, I hated it.

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