Return to middle school…

I must confess… I hated middle school.  Hated it.

I didn’t love high school that much either, but I really loathed middle school.  In part because for me, getting through middle school involved a lot of pretending to like it.  We moved when I was in the seventh grade, and as the “new girl” I did a lot of pretending.  (look for that theme in my next book…)

Honestly, I’m not a good pretender.

But I’m happy to report that my return to middle school this week, for a three day school visit in Pikesville, MD, has been wonderful so far.  Great kids!  Nice grownups!  Lovely school! A chance to be myself in a middle school for the first time.

All good stuff!

(though I might go out for lunch today. My nostalgia for cafeteria mashed taters can only extend so far)

I wonder… was it just me, or did other people struggle at that age? How was middle school for you? What sticks in  your memory from those years?

My middle school highlight was probably being on the “publicity committee” with my friend Jacqui.  We got to paint banners for all the school events. For some reason that was really fun.

My middle school DESPAIR involved a lot of bra snapping.  Remember that?  Remember when some boy a head shorter than you tried to snap your bra, and then laughed at you because you didn’t have one?

Oh, the shame…

6 Responses to “Return to middle school…”

  1. Dawn A Says:

    Laurel: I didn’t hate middle school, though it was a time of a bruising, and not necessarily successful search for self-identity. In general, we had a good time,though all I think I learned was how to be cruel. We were a raving bunch of lunatics (I was a fully invested follower.) – instituting school-wide pencil and book drops, mimicing the teachers, climbing out the windows and running around outside in plain view, carrying around squirt guns filled with wine, writing our own hall passes – you get the picture. On the last day of school one year, we had eveyone wad all the paper they had and throw it in the halls until the hallways were knee deep in paper that drifted out the doors and got caught in the chainlink fence. (After that, everyone had to relinquish their locker a week before school let out.) It was also the time of terrible crushes. There was a boy who had a crush on me who left his class early every period so he could wait outside mine. When I ignored him, he grabbed my beltloop. For many months I dragged this boy around by the beltloops of my hiphuggers.

  2. Madigan Says:

    Middle school (we called it junior high, back then) was horrid for me, because I was involved in a rather dramatic and terrible car accident in front of the whole school. After being hit by the car, I miraculously walked away without a scratch. Rather than applauding my good luck, my classmates decided that I must have supernatural powers, and they all shunned me. True story!

  3. david e Says:

    junior high for us, and while not an entirely horrible experience, it was the time i think of as the “great shifting of friendship alliances.” my friends from seventh grade became my mortal enemies by ninth grade, which made for some interesting times in high school when friends and ex-friends would spar on my behalf. i had my first great crushes then (simultaneous, and told neither) and learned photography and that i had an ear for poetic mimicry.

    sorry to hear your experiences were, unfortunately, more typical. btw, what’s wrong with that picture of that school lunch? oh, that’s right, everything is practically the same color! hmm, i feel a blog post coming on…

  4. Jennifer Geraedts Says:

    I hated middle school too. I won’t repeat the worst of it…. but I was a new kid too, and to make matters worse, I was a new kid from the south (newly moved to Minnesota). The only thing other kids wanted from me was to hear “How ya’ll doin’?” Unfortunately, a lot of teasing “taught” me that to lessen my pain, I could join in the razzing of another student. After he died in a really peculiar way (dropped dead on top of a ski slope), and I was left sitting behind his empty seat in math class (which I routinely kicked just because it bothered him), I never joined in any teasing of another person again. Ever.

  5. laurel Says:

    That’s super interesting (if horribly sad). I had a much milder version of the same, and it works it way, a little, into my next book.

  6. Donna Gephart Says:

    Of course I remember junior high! The acne, the braces, flat hair, flat something else, unrequited love. And that was the good stuff. Much of it landed right in my novel — How to Survive Middle School. I think kids now have at least as hard a time as we did then, with potential cyber bullying thrown in for “good” measure.

    When I give my talk at middle schools, I always emphasize that it gets better.

    Because it does. I’ll be even Bill Gates didn’t like middle school!

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