People often laugh when I talk about “high school.” Well, the people who know me laugh. I was homeschooled, so they say I didn’t go to high school. True, I didn’t. But in our culture, the easiest way to reference the ages between 14 and 18 is by saying “high school.”
1. Math! Seriously, I have never once used trig or calculus since I left high school. I tested out of math for college, and skills more than algebra and geometry aren’t tested on things like the THEA and GRE. Completely useless skills for an English-teaching-librarian. However, I do miss the challenge of the puzzle of looking at a pile of numbers and letters and making sense of them. I miss using math to solve complex problems in chemistry and physics. I miss the thrill of figuring it out and getting it right. Somehow I just don’t get that thrill from analyzing characters in literature.
2. Having no friends. High school was the Sahara Desert of Friendship for me. Every day I longed to have a best friend, someone to hang out with and confide in and generally have fun with. But my enforced solitude necessitated me learning to be comfortable in my own skin. The silence doesn’t scare me (unless we’re talking about The Silence, which is a whole other story), and I can enjoy peace and quiet in a way many of my peers seem incapable of doing. While I do have friends now, I understand that I don’t need friends to complete me.
3. Being a janitor. The last three years of high school my mom and I worked as the janitors at my church. While it wasn’t a mega-church, the building was pretty big and had to be cleaned two times a week. I learned to hate vacuuming. But years of cleaning a huge church gave me the practice I needed to be able to quickly and efficiently clean my house now. After all, what’s an hour cleaning my apartment compared to 15 hours a week cleaning a church?
4. Diagramming sentences. Grammar was pretty much all I did in English during high school. I corrected and diagrammed sentence after sentence, so much so that I literally had dreams about diagramming. It was hard work. But when I had to start writing all the time in college, I almost never got marked down for grammar. And when I had to take a senior level grammar course, I didn’t struggle very much with it. The endless grammar studying made me a better writer.
5. Not having a dad. Okay, I had a dad, but he and I didn’t get along very well. It was mainly just me and my mom. It wasn’t until after I left for college that my dad and I started getting along and building a good relationship. Now I go visit him on a fairly regular basis and talk to him on the phone all the time. I didn’t realize it during high school, but I had a gaping hole in me that could only be filled by my father. Now, I wouldn’t trade my relationship with my dad for anything.