Peopled seemed to like the This Was Me post that covered my younger years, and this post will look back at my high school years.
I wasn’t a huge fan of that time in my life. Nothing bad happened; I just felt like I had very different interests from the vast majority of my peers, and I had no desire to try to “fit in”. I had my core group of friends and that was fine, but it wasn’t until I reached university that I felt like I was really in my element.
I’ll warn you now that my hair and fashion choices during that time left a lot to be desired.
The summer after grade 8, I went on a 2-week school exchange trip to Japan. Another student and I stayed with a host family, who were quite nice. They had a fancy computerized toilet in the bathroom that the other girl and I used, but I didn’t try pressing any of the buttons, mostly because I didn’t want to have to call anyone in to rescue me from whatever the toilet might do.
I wasn’t so keen on the food, and ended up losing quite a bit of weight while I was there. I ate rice and not a whole lot else. One morning they served us fish heads for breakfast. I didn’t have the slightest clue what to do with it.
This photo is me chopping noodles of some sort. You can sort of see the braces that I was rocking.
This is the summer after grade 9. I was doing a 6-week French immersion program in Quebec, the French-speaking province in Canada. We stayed in college dorm rooms, which were pretty basic and had godawful plastic-covered pillows. I came down with chickenpox not long before the program started. I was probably still contagious when I had to fly out there, but my parents stuck me on the plane anyway.
I bonded with two girls and we were inseparable the whole time. This photo is taken in one of the girls’ dorm room. At that point in my life, I was a huge hockey fan, and it was a strong possibility in my mind that I might end up marrying Trevor Linden of the Vancouver Canucks (the t-shirt I’m wearing had his name on it and the Canucks’ logo at the time). The fact that he was already married wasn’t a deterrent at all in my imagination.
Grade 9 was the year when I decided a perm would be a good idea for some reason. Clearly, that didn’t work out well.
I’m not sure if this was from grade 10 or 11. I volunteered as a candy striper at the dinky little local hospital. A couple of my friends were doing it as well, and we’d get a little party going at dinnertime in the extended care wing’s dining room. We’d feed our assigned residents and keep up a merry chatter as we went.
Tucked into my pocket is a wrist brace. I had developed tendinitis from playing piano, but it persisted for at least another year after I stopped playing.
This was from the summer after grade 10. I went to a month-long science camp type of thing. It was held at the university where I later ended up studying, and we stayed in the same student residence complex where I lived in my 1st and 2nd year.
Science camp wasn’t as dorky as it sounds. Most of the other kids were a couple of years older than me, so while I had people I was friendly with I didn’t make any solid friends.
The month after this I did an internship with a company that had sponsored me for the camp. I ended up stopping that early because I developed profound fatigue, to the point that even walking was difficult. A cause couldn’t be determined, but I wonder if it may have been an early glimpse of depression, even though my mood wasn’t depressed at the time.
This was my high school graduation photo. I’d managed to ditch the perm by this point, but the bangs would persist for another couple of years.
I didn’t particularly want to go to my high school graduation. For one, I just didn’t care, but also my best friend had a convenient excuse to be out of town at the time. I remember one of the parents on the grad committee saying it would be one of the most important times in my life, and I thought what a sad life that would be if my dinky little high school graduation were to be the high point.
When I began university, I knew very quickly that I was where I belonged; high school was what got me there, but really wasn’t worth remembering beyond that.
That’s the high school years, and next week we’ll fast forward to my travelling 20s.
All photos are the property of the author.
The rest of the “this was me” mini-series can be found here: