Why Sending Your Daughter To A Private All-Girls High School Isn’t The Absolute Worst Thing You Can Do For Her – But It’s Still Not That Great

29 Jul

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No one has had an “easy” high school experience, probably in the history of all people ever, but most notably for young women. As a previously-young woman, I can attest to the massive amounts of bullshittery that amasses in a girl’s adolescent years. I faced lots of personal image problems, academic inadequacies, social retardation, and many other common dilemmas that still face teenagers today. The plot twist? I attended an all-girls, private high school. It was a good fit for me, but only because it was hell on earth, and I knew I got to leave someday.

——

Community

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The only “community” experience I gained from high school was my experience in the community outside my school. I lived in the suburbs, but my school was in the city; and centrally located near two big college campuses. This lucky scenario landed me opportunities to get involved with museums, libraries, and cool local musicians. Actually, the community within the walls of the school was so unpleasant, it actually made me explore my other options more so than if I had been more comfortable at school. I didn’t take AP courses. I didn’t play soccer. I didn’t go to more than one Spanish club meeting. All the communities I tried to fit in with figured me out pretty quickly. I was so. Weird.

 

Community Service

A typical day.

                       A typical day.

I actually never realized this until just now, but my school never really did any community service. My youth group did, but it was based out of my hometown and had zero affiliation with my school. I think there was a club for service projects, but that generally meant going to the old folks’ home next door and having a “prom” for them, which generally freaked me out anyway. Most of the students’ volunteering efforts were put towards raising more money for the school. During my time there, they built a new cafeteria, a new gym, and started work on a new chapel. The cafeteria went from costing $3.00/day to “a la carte”, which meant you had to pay for everything on your tray individually. A full meal ended up costing about $7. I lived off of soft pretzels. 

And I have seen that new chapel, and it is ugly as hell.

 

Academics

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             U.S. Government 201

Freshman year, 2001, I was automatically enrolled into “Honors” English based on my entrance exam scores. After freshman year, I achieved lower than an A-, so I was bumped down to “Regular” English. After sophomore year, I was deemed “too smart” for “Regular” English, so I went back to “Honors” my junior year. And then – surprise! – I was back in “Regular” English for my senior year. This web of contradiction says very little about my academic prowess, and much more about the school’s standards for what “honorable” means. From what I can discern, it means more way more pointless work and more strict scoring. It has no bearing on comprehension, aptitude, or skill. The “Regular” classes were all cake-walks. The “Honors” classes held unrealistic standards. In neither situation did I feel like I was surrounded by like-minded individuals.

 

Makeup

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Lots of girls wore makeup in high school. It didn’t matter that we spent 80% of the day away from boys. If I didn’t wear makeup, the cool girls would be able to see my acne, and then they would torment me more than regularly. Even the uncool girls wore makeup. It was one of the only ways to express yourself outside of changing your hairstyle (within reasonable confines). It wasn’t until I graduated that I stopped wearing makeup, because once I was in the real world, I realized that nobody caked that shit on more than catholic schoolgirls. 

 

Uniforms

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In retrospect, uniforms made it really difficult to adapt to normal job attire later in life. I had to teach myself how to coordinate clothes together. I WISH the real world had a uniform. The only real thing uniforms in high school taught me was how to dress like a complete bum when not in school. 

 

Self-Esteem

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Some of my actual high school friends.

I was only trying to be different! In a private, single-gender school, being different is the last thing you wanna do. I wasn’t trying to cause problems. I wasn’t trying to stand out. I was just trying to figure out how to be myself! And yes, my high school environment did help with this; by making me realize that the only people who understood me were my very close friends. 

 

Lack of the Male Species

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We didn’t even get a real health class to teach us about sex. Our health class talked about goiters and used calipers to measure our BMIs. Boys were not extra-excited to us. Creepy, much-older, much dirtier boys were excited. The guys from our “sister” school were just as mentally fucked as the girls in our school. And shouldn’t all-female institutions be trying to disassociate themselves from things like “needing a male prom date”? Getting a date to the dance wasn’t easier because “the girl is the one asking”. In fact, it was much harder.

But don’t worry, guys! I made it out!

I did it!

                                              I did it!

Man, that was a great day.

-P

________________________

This is an article written in response to the “Thought Catalog” post, titled “Why Sending Your Daughter To A Private All-Girls High School Is One Of The Best Things You Can Do For Her”, written by Laura Lapham. 

Worst case of “the Mondays” that I ever had

21 May

Went to bed late last night.

Woke up late this morning.

Didn’t shower yesterday.

No time to shower this morning.

Late bus was extra late.

Arrived at work. Immediately set off door-triggered fire alarm.

Ate coworker’s nasty apple-flavored cake with soggy peanuts in it. “I haven’t made it in years!” she said.

Maybe that’s why it tasted like it was from 1969.

…BUT THEN…

Visitor walks in. I say, “Can I help you?”. He says “Yes Mike Birsic, Gordon Fisher.”

“…uh, did you say Tom Birsic?” I ask. That’s a guy that works here.

“Uh, NO!” he replied. “I am MIKE Birsic. I’m here to SEE Gordon Fisher.”

“Okay, sir,” I giggled mindlessly to come off as a ditz. “Sorry, I am not familiar with Mr. Fisher! Silly me! My brain is too full of lists of boys I want to kiss and shoes I want to buy.”

Slight exaggeration.

I look up this Gordon Fisher in our directory. Nada.

“Sir, I’m sorry, I’m not seeing a Gordon Fisher here. Do you have the correct office?”

“Uhhhh,” he blurbled*, as he fumbled for his Blackberry. “Let me call my brother and check with him.”

Sho ’nuff, he had the wrong building entirely.

“You were right, I did have the wrong building,” he said as he booked it to the elevators. “Oh, good!” I replied, knowingly.

HAVE A GREAT DAY!

Hitchbro: A reflection

23 Mar

Yesterday afternoon, as I browsed Reddit for mortician AMAs and stoner comics, I recalled the words of my friend Graham. Just last night, he excitedly told me about his recent and slightly-illegal adventure with HitchBro; the cross-country traveling redditor. According to the internet, HitchBro (Seth, IRL) was still hanging out in Pittsburgh and likely looking for sustenance, companionship and a nice couch to sleep on.

“OH MY GOD,” I thought, “I HAVE ALL OF THOSE THINGS!”. Without hesitation, I shot him a text inviting him to my office for a drink and conversation. Upon receipt of my text, I immediately got a call from him. The outright joy in the tone of his voice was a great indicator of the hours to come. I knew from the get-go that Seth (aka Dudebro and Dudemanbro) was relying entirely on the kindness of strangers for all of his vital necessities. This included, but was not limited to: friendly conversation, tourist information, someone to tell stories to, pizza, hygiene, etc.

No one should ever agree to house a traveler if they are not prepared to be slightly inconvenienced, which I am hardly ever prepared for. I’ve been lucky enough to live pretty comfortably the last several months. Honestly, a little too comfortably. I miss being out of my comfort zone. So when HitchBro reluctantly asked if I knew of a place he could crash for the night (while repeatedly assuring me it was okay if I could not), I happily offered my couch without hesitation!

Anyone who is willing to brave blind uncertainty for months at a time just to see the world is a good guy in my book. Upon out meeting, I grabbed cigarettes for us both — he prefers Marlboro Smooths because he’s classy. We hopped on the bus and made it to “Pittsburgh’s Little Italy” – Bloomfield – and arrived safely at my house.

Unfortunately I had a lot of cleaning to do in my room due to potential renters visiting the next day, so I felt bad telling HitchBro that I had to leave him alone for awhile. He didn’t care. All he needed was my wifi password and a stoop to sit on, which were both easily accessible.

I’m happy to say that I wasn’t inconvenienced by HitchBro in the slightest. He actually bought me a beer and shared lots of interesting stories and insights with me. I honestly feel like I got more out of the experience than he did! I got to dish about some Pittsburgh quirks and history, which I don’t get to do much these days without traveling myself.

I had plans to go to see some friends’ bands play down the street after we got some kickin’ buffalo chicken pizza, but HitchBro was feeling understandably exhausted and the bar scene was not his first choice for hangouts. I made sure he had everything he needed (directions to the bathroom, glass of water, cigarette lighter) before I departed to the bar by myself. I was only gone for about an hour, in which he grabbed a shower. I felt really bad because I didn’t have any towels for him :( but he managed to MacGyver it somehow.

In the spirit of sleepovers, I invited another friend back to my house after the show and we chilled with Dudebro – sorry, HITCHbro, I keep forgetting – for another hour or so before heading to bed. We were all equally exhausted. I left for work at about 8:30 this morning and my friend was conveniently headed in the same direction as Seth was to catch his Megabus, so I was able to leave my house knowing Dudemanbro would be safe and secure.

Housing a worldly (or east-coastly) traveler isn’t a daunting task unless you make it one. People often talk about their faith in humanity needing restoration, but it takes generosity and cooperation on both ends to work.

So please, take a chance on HitchBro if you get the chance. AND GODSPEED TO YOU, DUDE! :)

MAYBE I’M THE NEW MESSIAH

27 Feb

You get yourself a bottle and say “I don’t love anything anymore”.

20 Feb

Sick like Nixon was sick

4 Jan

I woke up this morning to a familiar feeling. That tingly feeling in the back of your throat that can only mean one thing—

Miserable

My life is in shambles.

I’m getting sick.

Waking up to that feeling just ruined my whole day, which sucks because this is likely my last mostly-healthy day for awhile. Commence juice-drinking and vegetable-eating. Now I’m halfway through my day, and the right side of my throat is all tender and swollen. Soon, cigarettes will taste worse than they ever have. Every meal will be an accomplishment. I’ll lay in bed, sweaty and delirious, wondering how I ended up in this sad state.

Every time I’m sick, I inevitably make some kind of pledge to myself about how I will never take my health for granted again! I will run and jump and dance and do everything I’ve always wanted, all day, everyday, forever. This persists for several days.

Cat Doctors

I wish I had cat doctors.

Then, I will be miraculously cured! And I won’t even remember how sick I was – which makes me wonder if trying to stop this sickness is even worth it. I kind of hate orange juice, anyway.

In other news, here’s how I spent my New Year’s Eve:

NYE pile

Not pictured: Giant bag of gluten

This may not look like much to you, but this pile of debris took nearly FORTY minutes and FIVE people to create. It also took a lot of music and screaming and beer and stuff. But I think it made for a pretty good last-minute offering to the Mayan gods of 2012.

Hm. I have some other recent moblie goodies, too – like this awesome rainbow!

Rainbow Connection!

Ooooo!

I could actually see the beginning and end of this giant rainbow – the end was down in Oakland. Hard to capture on a cell phone camera but I think a managed to get a decent shot. And here’s an even OLDER picture:

birthday

Thanks, mom!

The prettiest cake I ever did have! Only took me 25 years to get it.

Alright, I’m done.

2011: A Year in Pamview

30 Dec

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Pam’s Weird Lyfe year-end roundup! Whether you loved it or hated it, 2011 proved to be a monumental year for everybody in one way or another. Personally, I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet. Maybe I will by the end of this post – LET’S FIND OUT.

January 

Snow was actually on the ground. The Steelers went to the Super Bowl and embarrassed themselves. Cee Lo’s “Fuck You” was merely a viral sensation, and had not yet usurped itself into every facet of pop culture. I was giving piggy-back rides in Barnes & Noble.

weeeeee

January was boring.

February

I think I went to a Pens game. I also became obsessed with Shark Tank. That’s all. No picture necessary.

March

According to my Facebook timeline, I was very sick this month. Somehow I got to see Bomb The Music Industry in Cleveland. But most importantly, the world lost a really really great person, whom I miss very much—

Patrick

Patrick Gilbert

April

April was full of more punk rawk shows, Based God and really nice weather. Peoples became my official Favorite Restaurant. Koala T had his first solo show!! And many great times were had playing BATTLETOADS.

Battlejerks!

May 

Osama Bin Laden was killed, and it left many people feeling…okay? I guess? The Weird Paul Rock Band melted faces off of marathon runners at the break of dawn. Bushido Blade became the retro-game-of-choice (but NOT Bushido Blade 2), and Koala T released my favorite song ever (and it happens to mention Bushido Blade in it!). Suddenly, a wild Craigslist ad appeared! It used “ACQUIRE NEW APARTMENT”. It was super effective!!

Little Italy Haze

June

Summertime! My sights were set pretty high, and they were set on adventure. I told HR Screening Services to take their job and re-staff it. To celebrate, I went to two amazing shows – DEVO and PEELANDER-Z!!!

Peelander-Z

Taco-taco-taco-taco-taco-say yeah!!

July 

STARTED MY VERY AWESOME JOB on the very first day of this month. With a newfound confidence, I started hitting up local karaoke joints with friends. U-Hauls were at a premium, but we somehow managed to get Lily & Chris’s old couch into my apartment – much to the dismay of Street Elmo.

Elmo

D:

August

We all thought summer was coming to an end – who would have guessed it would stretch into December? “Lopez Tonight” got canceled and the world rejoiced. And MY BEST FRIEND GOT MARRIED.

Pam and Lily!

"Ah-ooooooooo!"

September

Many things happened this month, but none more important than my musical accomplishments! I wrote and recorded my first song, and played my very very very first show!

Like I give a fuck.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

October

Saw many hockey games, occupied some things, and dressed up like Fox McCloud for Halloween. Unfortunately, I accidently went “full-furry” and nobody thought my costume was cool. Only embarassing. I also went to the dentist for the first time in like 50 years!

Dentist

"I went to the dennnnnnntiiiist!"

November

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii turned tweeeeeeenty-fiiiiiiiiiiiive! But I still act like I’m 10!

 

December

Oh crap, I caught up with my present-day self. This is going to cause all kinds of space-time problems. Uh.

no need

Okay.

Happy 2012 everyone! 

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