What do you miss from high school?

We miss different things than CPP.

Holy shit, I miss almost nothing.  I miss some of the people, but I could always call them or something.  I miss NOT being the smartest person in the room — generally I miss hanging out exclusively with really smart people.  That’s about it.  There were more things I enjoyed, but sure as hell not enough to go back.

I don’t miss the angst, depression, terrible food, boyfriends dumping me, looking for a boyfriend, not getting enough sex, worrying about Cell Bio, math problem sets, restricted freedom, rules, communal living (we went to a boarding school), coming down with mono, my parents having power over me, not being able to live with a cat, lack of privacy, moving all my stuff twice a year, classes that started at 7:30AM, etc.  Criminy.

Lucky for me, high school was not the best time of my life.  It was certainly the best time of my life UP UNTIL THEN!  Particularly senior year, that was pretty sweet.  Except that my life kept on getting better after that, too!  I love getting older.  Joking aside, being a grownup pretty much rocks.

#2 totally agrees with all of the above, except she kind of liked the math problem sets, and sometimes has to make solution sets for them these days (and, for the most part, she still hangs out with super smart people).

How does your life compare to high school?  What’s better and what’s worse?

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56 Responses to “What do you miss from high school?”

  1. eemusings Says:

    Been thinking a lot about high school (road tripping across the USA to 90s songs brings up the nostalgia).

    Lordy. I miss … almost nothing. I miss some friendships (because those change with adulthood, and some fade). But yeah, generally, it was a miserable, angsty, overly dramatic few years.

  2. Practical Parsimony Says:

    I miss my best friend who committed suicide about 7 years ago, English classes, science classes (especially physics), and that’s about it. I don’t miss hot classes, stinky cafeteria, history classes, riding the school bus, jerks. Back in the 60s there was no ac at all in the school, so with allergies and close contact with so many bodies, schools were unbearably hot.

  3. Liz Says:

    Hated high school, completely. International Baccalaureate: Don’t do it! Run away! There are better options! IMHO the angst and drama I felt were less related to “hormones!” (my mother’s excuse for every disagreement) and more related to the fact that I only got about 5-6 hours of sleep a night, for four years running.

    Still, I miss some of my teachers and coaches. I wouldn’t want to ever go back to high school, EVER, but I wouldn’t mind if I had to take a class/sport with those particular people again. (I keep in touch with my two favorites.)

    • Leah Says:

      haha, I did IB and also got no sleep. I valued IB but was much, much happier my senior year when I decided not to do full IB. My school let us pick between certificates and the diploma. I switched tracks, dropped the classes I wasn’t enjoying (looking at you, philosophy), and was much better.

      But, yes, sleep deprivation was my least favorite part of school. I occasionally fell asleep driving home from school/work (no joke) and am blessed that I am still alive. Also, I didn’t realize until part way through college that I really do dream. It took me two+ years to catch up on the sleep dep.

  4. bogart Says:

    Count me in the “pretty much nothing” camp. There are people, sure (though also plenty I don’t miss, and particularly plenty of social dynamics), and … well, that’s about it. I guess the sense that lots of adventure lay ahead (though I like to think plenty still does! But clearly some things that were then ahead, including some good ones, are now behind, at least until I can get that time travel machine operational, and even then, there are logical issues that come into play. But also lots and lots of uncertainty that is now behind and not missed.

  5. Cloud Says:

    Ummm,.. gosh. Not much, really. The ability to eat just about anything and not gain weight. Playing in orchestra was fun. I didn’t hate my classes, but they don’t really stand out compared to what came later. I had some really good friends, but I’ve stayed in touch with most of them, so I can’t say I miss them.

  6. Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

    I miss sleeping until noon on the weekends and not having any responsibility. All I had to worry about was school work, homework, and my part-time job at Subway (classy!). I don’t think I appreciated how easy my life was at the time.

  7. plantingourpennies Says:

    I don’t have any particular nostalgia for high school, but it was fun. I was lucky enough to go to a school with great faculty who challenged and supported us, great fellow students, and really thrived there, but I feel no need to go back and relive it.

  8. Debbie M Says:

    Wow, haven’t thought about high school in a while.

    I miss my best friend (now dead) and getting to see her every hour (we always had one locker in a good location and one in a bad one, so we shared the good locker and got to see each other between classes).

    I also got to have smart people in high school, but in college and grad school I also got to be friends with them!

    I liked a bunch of my classes, especially history–we had lots of simulations. (But not English, Spanish, or Health/Driver’s Ed). In PE I got to teach my best friend the secret to running a whole mile: slow down (and be stubborn). After that she was better than me at ALL PE things, but it was great to be able to help her instead of her always helping me. We were so excited to learn that we were average at running the mile for a female (10 minutes, according to our teacher) when normally I was the worst at everything and my friend couldn’t even finish the mile. She also learned from me about studying and even took Biology II and Marine Biology in addition to the required sciences (Biology I and Chemistry I).

    And senior year we changed our strategy when presented with options to do activities where we didn’t know whether we wanted to do them or not. Before then we had always said no, but senior year we started always saying yes and never once regretted it. We helped Junior Girl Scout troops (4th – 6th grade) on camping trips, played Powder Puff football (all-female flag football), went to the senior picnic (where we learned that the popular people were too chicken to dance unless they all got up at the same time), tried a math tournament, and joined a bunch of silly school spirit clubs like SLBCCOCCHS (the Senior Lunchbox Carriers Club of [my] High School).

    Also, in Girl Scouts we made spaghetti, garlic bread, salad and cheesecake when it was our turn to cook on a campout, blowing away everyone else. Fun!

    I miss climbing the good tree (now infested with fire ants) and the other okay trees (they’ve cut off all the low/accessible branches) and sneaking through people’s backyards to get to the good trails.

    Unlike Practical Parsimony, we did have A/C except the first month of 9th grade when they hadn’t quite finished replacing the units in time. My biology teacher taught us that “Your cells are screaming for water” and said we could leave the class at any time, no questions asked, to get a drink of water. And now I’m remembering that she always advised the boys not to wear such tight pants because it wasn’t good for their sperm health (though in high school, that might be just as well). I do miss the days when men wore pants that weren’t too big for them. They don’t need to be quite as tight as in high school (late 1970s), but I do prefer seeing people in clothes that fit them and flatter them. (My boyfriend prefers gigantic cargo “shorts,” most of which go past his knees. I tell him they are cargo capris.) Aren’t styles supposed to be cyclical?

    I do not miss being called “Bird Twins,” getting group projects where I had to do all the work, or people making fun of me and my brother for being short (so glad I was female and didn’t have to get into fights over it). I don’t miss the horrible school counselors (who advised me to get out of calculus when I got a D because I would not care about calculus when I was older). I don’t miss all my other friends from the 8th grade dumping me one by one as they lost touch with me over the summer because I didn’t live in their good neighborhood or have any transportation to it).

    And I definitely remember writing a note called 100 things I hate, many of which were exaggerations, but still.

    • rented life Says:

      Oh my god, how did I forget being made fun of for being short? I blocked that awful memory out completely. WHY was that something to make fun of, I’ll never understand. And always in some obvious way “Hey, RL, you’re like really short.” No shit. idiots.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Because EVERYTHING is something to make fun of. Duh. People yelled “Shrimp!” to me. Concise. Also, my boring ordinary last name meant I got called “Miller Beer.” My sister got called “Killer Miller,” way cooler, but still said in a horribly mean way. Somehow no one thought of calling me “Little Debbie.” Shocking.

        Are you still short? If so, you can totally fit into airplane seats better than average people. So ha!

  9. Chelsea Says:

    I kind of miss having less connectivity. Although we had a home PC and got dial up internet when I was a junior in HS, I never used it except for typing up reports for school. No one had a cell phone until we were in college. Although the internet, smartphones, etc. are super convenient, I sometimes miss the days when they didn’t exist to be time wasters.

    • bogart Says:

      Ha, here’s one I don’t miss: Needing to ask my parents’ permission before making a long distance call, where anyone who lived more than 10 miles from me, was a long-distance call. OTOH I still have limited enough minutes on my cell plan that I think before calling someone, so maybe things haven’t changed all that much …

  10. SP Says:

    Not much. It was a mostly enjoyable time, but college was better, adulthood is better. Most of the time, I think whatever stage of life I’m in is the best yet. :)

    Oddly enough, choir comes to mind. It is certainly something I could do now, but I don’t have much desire to. But I still miss it. Study hall, especially as a senior when we were excused and it was just social hour. I really don’t miss proms and homecomings and school dances. Yuck! Or gym class. Minimal responsibilities and a relatively easy life. :) Some days I miss that.

    I think it is interesting that high school was a time when you were surrounded by very smart people. I think on average, the people I was around in college and now are smarter than people in high school.

    Most of all, the feeling of possibility, that my life was so unwritten that I could be and do anything. That has more to do with being 17/18 than high school itself, but it is the only thing that I truly miss. Each choice we make gives us new experiences, but eliminates all of the choices we didn’t make.

  11. Flavia Says:

    Nothing. And I hated being the smartest kid in the room; I felt underchallenged, and like I probably wasn’t REALLY that smart, because I was in an uncompetitive pool. (Note: my high school was actually a very good public school, and I had great teachers, but I felt like I had nothing in common with most of my classmates.) I had some good friends, to be sure, and we did some zany things, but I was always waiting to grow up, to get older, to move away, to meet people like me, to start real life.

    I did have some great teachers, especially my English and social studies teachers, and they went out of their way to challenge me and to give me extra reading, tell me about books or movies I might like. So I guess I miss the feeling that someone really knew and cared about my intellect, specifically, and was excited about my potential. It’s the only time in my life I felt that I was anyone’s golden child, or that anyone was looking forward to seeing what I went on to do.

    I’m in touch with a lot of people from HS on Facebook, and I’ve come to really appreciate many of them (including people I intensely disliked at the time). I think I may just have been an arrogant and insecure dork. But I sure don’t want to go back to that!

  12. CG Says:

    I miss orchestra and choir, neither of which I have time now to do, and having my parents take care of me and having very little responsibility. In so many ways, for better and worse, it was a simpler life. I also miss sneaking around with my high school boyfriend, who is now my husband. Of course, now I get to spend the night with him all the time, and I enjoy that, too, but the element of naughtiness is long gone. Hmm…maybe we could reclaim that somehow…must think about that.

  13. rented life Says:

    The cafeteria served these rolls with butter that I’m sure are awful for you, but damn they were good. I ate more than I should have, which then was fine because I didn’t gain weight, but I had to work hard to break that carb addiction as I got older. I miss some friendships, some of which you can’t just rekindle the same way you could then. I miss all the activities–drama, music, etc. I liked being busy and I loved singing. I’ve looked into local choirs as an adult but so many have a religious undertone and cost $$$ if you want to do more than “practice” with them. But I don’t miss any of It enough to go back. I don’t miss being bullied, being bored with my classes, having the guidance counselor say “sure you’re a target this week but they’ll move on to someone else.” I don’t miss living so far in the country that I can’t go anywhere without a ride. Bad boyfriends, not realizing when I was in bad “friendships”, and so on. Most things have gotten better since then and I plan for them to keep getting better!

    • Debbie M Says:

      Oh, yes, those hot, soft rolls covered with melted butter. Yum.

      I also enjoyed the horrible pudding … as a toy. You could turn the bowl upside down and slap it (perhaps over someone’s head) and it still would not come out!

    • Liz Says:

      The rolls! Well, when they were freshly-made. At some point they switched to prepackaged white “dinner rolls,” which were terrible. But the whole-wheat rolls with butter…. so good! Thanks for the memory. :)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Ooh, sudden memory of breadstick day (Thursdays, IIRC). Those were so good and everybody tried to get in the line ASAP after class so they could get sticks before they ran out.

  14. chacha1 Says:

    my high school was a gulag, and getting out a year early to start college was one of the smarter things I did. I don’t miss ANYTHING about the experience and still hold a grudge for all that wasted time.

  15. becca Says:

    I didn’t go to high school. I think that’s why I enjoyed as much as I did of being ages 14-18. Things that were great:
    *Friends from that era. I’m still in touch with several, but I don’t get to see them enough. They are awesome.
    *One of the boyfriends from that era
    *Freedom/so much leisure time. Related: almost never having to get up early (now I have to get up at 3:30am).
    *Tae Kwon Do, sewing, art, karate, hippie camp, the hippie co-op, swimming competitively, putting on plays, parliamentary debate/speech
    *Being able to make people crack up via ridiculous in-jokes/movie quotes/song lyrics. General zaniness.
    *A bunch of my community college professors, and a couple of my university profs

    Things I do NOT miss from 14-18:
    *The rest of the boyfriends. For the most part. Though I miss political arguments with the anime boi.
    *Not knowing my body and the hormones. Oh dear god, the hormones.
    *Depression and not having good coping mechanisms for it.
    *Being an even worse driver than I am now/not driving (I stopped driving after I totaled a car at 16, didn’t start back up until grad school)
    *Long distance phone bills that are not flat-fee
    *Fielding calls from suicidal friends/visiting friends in hospitals
    And I do NOT miss living with my parents as it actually was, but I miss my Dad badly now that he’s passed and I wish my Mom lived with us now.

  16. Laura Vanderkam (@lvanderkam) Says:

    High school wasn’t great, but middle school was definitely worse.

    I think it would be rather sad to have your teen years be the best years of your life — life is fun when you feel on an upward trajectory. Much better than that line from the song “Life goes on…long after the thrill of living is gone.”

  17. undinenotofgeneralinterest Says:

    The music. That’s it. I used to think that no sane person would wish to be in high school again, but gradually I realized that it was just me.

  18. KeAnne Says:

    Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. College is a different story, but I went to the only high school in my county and while I found my tribe, I never fit in and couldn’t wait until I graduated so I could head to college and find others like me. Didn’t work quite as well as I hoped, but at least it wasn’t high school!

  19. Leah Says:

    Life is better now, and I wouldn’t trade back to high school, but I really do miss one thing. I miss being involved in lots of service. In high school, I was in national honor society. I did plenty of volunteering and work. I hung out with my friends and helped other people. I really don’t have much time for that now, and I’m not sure why. I made time then. So, I miss that.

    I also volunteered tons helping out with my high school theatre even though I rarely made it into productions. But, again, I really valued that time spent designing tickets/playbills, selling tickets, reconciling money, etc.

    We also had regular parties with my friends. Just hanging out, walking in the woods, playing frisbee, etc. I miss those times. I live so far from my friends now.

    I didn’t watch TV at all in high school (maybe an hour a month, and only at someone else’s house with other people). I think that was a big part of my productivity.

    I don’t really miss high school itself, but the other things that went along with that time are still voids in my life that I’m slowly working on filling.

  20. First Gen American Says:

    The only thing I miss is being a size 6 and still being able to eat whatever I wanted and not gain weight. (I am a 10 now and it takes WAY more effort to stay there).

    I have always wanted to be an adult and do things my way from a very early age. I don’t know how many times I said “I can’t wait to grow up”, but it was a lot. I was not wrong. Maybe it would have been different if I had enrichment activities as a youth, but generally, it stunk being poor and brought up by someone who was just struggling to survive. My mom is awesome now but as a kid, she didn’t have a lot to offer beyond food and shelter (which is more than she got, so in contrast, she thought she doing ok).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      #2 lost that ability in middle school and was a bit chubby until she found out she had pcos and put fat back in her diet (cutting refined carbs instead). #1 was underweight in hs and put on a high fat diet that didn’t seem to do much.

  21. Leigh Says:

    I miss playing sports competitively. I haven’t been able to do that in a long time for complicated reasons and I miss that outlet. Casual sports just aren’t the same. And right now, I’m not playing ANY sports…

    I also miss the change of scenery. I find that changing scenery often helps to work more productively and in high school, we moved around for every class. I don’t work away from my desk nearly enough these days.

    College was way better than high school and adulthood is even better, mostly in that my parents no longer control the money, I live by myself, and I have a great social life. I always wanted to be a grown-up when I was a kid and now that I’m here, I must say it is pretty awesome.

  22. hush Says:

    I miss how good looking some of the guys my age used to be. You know, before so many of them grew up, lost their hair and developed massive guts. It was fun to stare at them and to imagine kissing them. Scott, Josh, Mike – yep, I’m definitely remembering you all fondly.

    I miss having free time to read or go to a movie in the middle of the day while skipping school.

    It would be fun to do a “Peggy Sue Got Married”-esque flashback back to 1990s high school, and run around telling people silly things like “Milli Vanilli are totally lip synching!!!” and “Buy stock in Apple.”

  23. oilandgarlic Says:

    I thought about this question for a while and could not come up with one single thing I miss about high school prison.

  24. scantee Says:

    Like almost everyone else, nothing. My freshman year of high school was the worst year of my life. I would take all of the stresses and responsibilities of adulthood over having to relive that year again.

    The time I do miss? My late 20′s. Out of school, more established and mature, making enough money to enjoy myself but without the responsibilities (and joys) that come with having a family.

  25. ana Says:

    I certainly don’t miss the angst & insecurity that came from being an adolescent! And I hated being the smartest person in most of my classes until junior/senior year; I always felt the need to “dumb it down” which was annoying. I miss having so much free time to hang out with some really great friends (we are still friends, but are plane rides away, and have those pesky adult responsibilities). And I miss choir and drama—so much fun! Also the fact that I could literally eat whatever I wanted and not gain a single ounce. I miss having a 16-year old metabolism and body. There was that general sense that the best was yet to come… I was under no illusion that these were “the best years of our life” (oh goodness, how depressing!), and that sense of anticipation is something I miss now that I’m in my late 30s and realizing that while there is plenty of good stuff ahead, there may also be some hard stuff around the corner…

  26. Revanche Says:

    I miss being athletic, nearly pain-free. Root beer floats every Friday night in my last year of high school. I miss not having the weight of the world on my shoulders which started at the age of 17. I miss my mom. Last time I remember she was well was in HS.
    I miss excellent teachers who worked really hard to teach us how to think. They didn’t always succeed but they tried and they cared. Study groups. We were nerds and actually tried to study in groups. A little goofing around but mostly we tried. I miss feeling like I’m capable of learning.

    I wouldn’t call HS the best years of my life but they were alright. There was a fair share of stupid, awkward, depressive, silly times but nothing so terrible that I hated HS. I wasn’t the best at anything anymore and I’d made my peace w/learning to compete more with myself than others; I finally had to face the fact that I was horrible at math and was too cowardly to ask for help and that sucked but again, not the end of the world.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Don’t say you’re horrible at math. It generally isn’t true for people who say it– the problem is the not asking for help, and it’s harder to ask for help if you think you’re horrible rather than think you just need things clarified/taught differently.

      • Savvy Working Gal Says:

        N&M,
        I will be sharing this math quote. It take me years to realize I wasn’t terrible at math. I am an accountant after all and accounting is based on algebra. I was really shy and would never have asked for help – ever. Also high school was pretty much a nightmare for me.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Glad to be of service!

      • Funny about Money Says:

        LOL! It would take lots more than someone just trying to help! I cannot add, subtract, multiply, or divide without a calculator BECAUSE I can’t remember the math facts, just as I can’t remember many things. Have always had terrible memory — can’t remember people’s names, either.

        Algebra was never a problem for me, because it doesn’t involve computation — it’s all logic. When someone says they’re “horrible at math,” they probably mean they can’t do computation. Recently I learned there’s a name for it — dyscalculia — and that it’s related to a genetic condition I happen to have, one that causes benign tumors on one’s nerves. Turns out it’s not a character flaw, after all. :-D

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        You may have dyscalculia…. I see you’ve come to the same conclusion. Most people don’t. That is unlikely to be revanche’s problem. Most people who say they are horrible at math don’t have a math related learning disability. Also even if you do have dyscalculia, there are methods you can learn to do basic math, so even that isn’t an excuse for not getting help.

  27. Funny about Money Says:

    Miss anything about high school? Nope.

    Do agree with you, though: it was better than what came before. Sort of. The junior HS in San Francisco was so far superior academically to the HS in Long Beach that I was really sad to miss out on two years of decent education. Fortunately, though, I dropped out at the end of my junior year to go on to a university in Arizona. It wasn’t a great university, but it was sure better than the high school!

    I was never a popular kid and so made only three friends. To my knowledge, none of us have kept track of each other. I think what I really miss is San Francisco. Long Beach was an armpit and Tucson wasn’t a lot better.

  28. Laura Says:

    I preferred college but I do miss orchestra, free time and being able to look forward to summer!

  29. Hurdling, hurtling into the weekend Says:

    […] Nicole and Maggie on missing (or not) high school […]

  30. komal pardeshi Says:

    I really really miss my extra classes because my all friends and me going to cant tin and eat bhel , wadapav etc but in college I’m really miss my favorite subject as well as my friends. Friends I really miss you


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