They say that high school is the best time of your life. I don’t know if that’s the universal truth or something people gladly conclude after watching every 80’s high school movies made by John Hughes, but it certainly wasn’t THE best time for me. Mine fell somewhat in-between. However mundane my life was, I decided to make a themed post today about my life in high school.
First of all, some introduction. I decide to name this post ‘Putih Abu-abu’ (White and Gray) not to address Gandalf, but to acknowledge the nationwide-used school uniforms in my country. In Indonesia, almost all schools have to have at least one day of national school uniform besides the school’s own uniforms. In high school, we used white top and gray skirt/long pants. Since white and gray are the nationwide school uniform color, there are a lot of Indonesian songs and movies with “putih abu-abu” phrase, usually songs and movies about high schoolers.
I went to a regular Catholic high school in Jakarta. I stayed in that school for 12 years because they had the elementary and junior high in one roof and my grandparents had always thought it was THE best Catholic school in my area, so they decided to keep me there until I graduated. Therefore, I stayed in the same environment for 12 years of my life, and most of my friends were Catholic, Chinese-Indonesian, and/or rich kids.
Life in a high school for rich kids was pretty hard for me. Actually, I could act like one because I came from an upper-middle-class family, but I wasn’t taught to act like a spoiled child. Therefore, it was a bit hard for me to engage with the new trend. The peer pressure was very high, especially in terms of new clothes, new stationeries, and new gadgets. I remember my classmates who could switch phones to new ones every three months and them who stayed with monophonic, monochrome phones until they graduated.
When I was in high school, I was a student who didn’t really care about my surroundings. My favorite subjects were English, History, and Civics. In fact, I was so good in Civics because I originally wanted to go to law school, my Civics teacher appointed me to join the school team for a school competition which was aired on the national TV channel. That was where I met one of my best friends, and we remain best friends until now (Love you, Rey!). However, I wasn’t that smart either. I remember I nearly didn’t pass 9th grade because of my low scores in Math. After that shock, my grandma assigned me to extra Math lessons for twice a week with an on-call teacher, I called her Miss Hastin. In 10th grade, a friend named Sophie joined me for the extra Math lessons and we continued the lessons until we finished high school.
I was also known as the girl with an entrepreneurial mind because I gained my pocket money by offering English translations and downloading MP3 songs to my customers (all hail Napster!). They just had to give me a list of 10 songs to download, and I would download it for them and put them in a USB drive. I charged around 20.000 to 30.000 rupiahs (1.1.5 euros) for my service, depending on how many songs they wanted me to download. For English translations, I charged them around 100.000 to 150.000 rupiahs (around 10 euros) because hey, translating Indonesian to English was harder than downloading songs, you know?!
When it came to bullying, I must say that I couldn’t manage to escape from the hole of bullies. Fortunately, I wasn’t the one who experienced direct bullying. Yes, there were some mean girls and boys who mocked me discreetly for not being in-tune with the new trends. I remember in 11th grade, I was in one class with a group of girls who formed a clique and who thought they were so popular, while actually a lot of kids were laughing at them. They called themselves ‘The Umbrella Gang’ because they were never seen without their umbrella during our ‘live-in’ program (a week-long program where we stayed in remote villages and lived with the villagers). Unfortunately, they sat not too far from me in class and I could hear them sometimes talking shit about me. There were also boys from football and basketball team who thought they owned everything and became so popular because they were good in sports, good-looking (well… some of them), and came from rich families. Some of them were nice to me, but most of them weren’t.
In high school, I also got my first boyfriend! It happened in my senior year. He sat behind me in class, and we became good friends, talked a lot, texted a lot, and sparks just flew! We dated for a year and 1 month. Unfortunately, we broke up after two months of being in college. It wasn’t a good break-up because he suddenly broke it off without giving any explanations to me. Therefore, it was a hard break-up for me because I had no closure. It took me two years to finally got over him. I never get back in touch with him after that event, but I still remain good friends with his sister.
Bottom line, I wasn’t the brightest, prettiest, or the richest kid in high school. However, high school really shaped most of my view upon things, some of them which I still believe in until now. My love for history grew in high school, making me confident to enroll to History major in college, changing my mind from Law School. So did my love for writing. In 10th grade, I wrote a short novel in a notebook, mostly during break time or my free time at home. That short novel was really popular in my class and my classmates often borrow the book to see whether I had added new chapters in the notebook. In high school, I started to be more open-minded and dared to criticize important matters such as religion, politics, humanities, and love among people.
Actually, I have a lot of stories about my high school life, but I will save them for my future posts. What was your high school life look like? Comment in the comment box below or use it as a writing prompt for your next blog post! If you do so, please let me know by linking this post on your blog 🙂