Confessions Of A Teenage Queen (All-Girls School Version)

Confessions Of A Teenage Queen (All-Girls School Version)

Same-sex schools are the walking contradictions of the institution world.

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Me: So, I went to an all-girls school.

From boys: "Woah, what was that like?" Then followed by a smirk and amusement.

From girls: "Woah, what was THAT like?" Followed by a look of shock and surprise.

We can get into the sexist and creepy connotations of these comments, but the focus here is the utter disconnect most people have with same-sex institutions. Same-sex schools, which typically come in small sizes, are on the decline as private schools increase in price and its significant difference to regular public schools are becoming less apparent. Nuns don't discipline students, resources are becoming more scarce, and the general cultural shifts in teenage society has broadened perspectives on LGBTQ+ rights, abortion, and religion that contradicts that with Christian beliefs (a prevailer of same-sex institutions). My parents had put me into an all-girls school to continue a Catholic education and reduce any distraction from the opposite sex (in the name of heteronormativity, of course). Though an education I am grateful for, as I now attend a large, co-ed, and very public university, I look in retrospect that there are definite pros and cons to my four years of pleated skirts.

*Disclaimer: Written from a binary perspective and generalizations to simplify the article. The author acknowledges non-binary exists.

1. So about the boys...

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Cons: No Boys. And I'm not saying that it's a problem because girls' lives revolve around boys (note: it doesn't!), I'm saying that you're not exposed to the ease and simplicity of having male friends. Sometimes, you want to take a step back from girl-world and understand the opposite sex better. There's a different vibe with guy friends that you don't necessarily get with girlfriends, and a break is welcome every now and then.

Pros: No Boys. Boys can also bring a different vibe from the classroom, generalized to be more of a class clown or entitled. Girls are like this, too, but the social connotations can sometimes get the best of us and these aspects can be visible in co-ed institutions. In all-girl schools, it can be avoided.

2. Lack of resources? No problem

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Cons: Private schools tend to be really small, making it difficult to find and maximize resources because of less funding. I know, we literally pay thousands of dollars for our education, but for some inner-city schools, its difficult to collect these funds. It affects student-life, activities, and extracurriculars. A lack of resources could also be frustrating when funding ASB or service ministry activities, that at some point, you start taking out-of-pocket expenses. Without resources, leadership and stewardship lead to burn-out.

Pros: Since there aren't many resources available, students learn to be more resourceful with what they have. You become crafty, open-minded, and forward thinking with the limited resources you have on hand. Creating things out of almost nothing is a skill, almost a gift, that those in smaller schools learn to perfect.

3. Ask, and you (might) receive

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Cons: Smaller schools make stronger relationships with teachers. It becomes more difficult to ask for, say, an extension for a grade, help on an application, and forgiveness for mistakes. However, the real world is not as forgiving. Bosses and professors won't be as understanding when you're late, when you've made oversights, or when you're having a difficult time. In a place like UCLA, a microcosm of the real world, you have to learn to prepare and do the work yourself, and only ask for help when absolutely necessary.

Pros: As unrealistic it could be to always ask for absolution from your wrongs, it is also a strong and necessary practice to ask. Without asking for what you want- setting goals and networking for the right information- how would you reach your goals? The lesson to be learned, compared to the con, is to ask confidently for the right things at the right time. Don't ask the world to forgive you, but do ask it for what you want.

4. More than just seven subjects

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Cons: With small schools, and same-sex, there are more than just regular school subjects on the table. You end up on tangents ranging from personal matters to society issues. These talks can definitely sidetrack the learning environment. It also blurs the boundaries between teacher and student in terms of what can be talked about. In doing so, when classes need to be more focused and professional, it could be a little difficult taking a teacher seriously.

Pros: Going beyond basic subjects is where true education begins. Being able to have conversations about how to be a man, Chris Palomo says, prepared him better for this world. Chris attended an all-boys school in Los Angeles, where he recalls conversations about being a better man than your father and being the man you need to be for the world to see. I also remember when I was in school and my chemistry teacher connected feminism in the STEM field so that we would see examples of STEM women in the real world. These are conversations that can be applied to society and/or personal life that same-sex classrooms can freely have while being relatable for people in the room.

5. The real world

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Cons: The world is co-ed, meaning same-sex schools don't really help with preparing you for the real world. You can prepare yourself for its injustices and prejudices, but you won't really know how that stands up when you're faced with the challenge of feeling men think you're less competent in the lab, of imposter syndrome with privileged students, and of not knowing as much as you thought you did. Small, same-sex schools are far from being a microcosm of the real world (they are the exact opposite) and cannot provide the exposure of harsh realities necessary to feel prepared for the world's edge.

Pros: Though you're not faced with how to deal with men in the classroom or terrifying imposter syndrome, you do learn to garner self-empowerment and confidence. Gianna Bermeo attended an all-girls school for four years, claiming that such an education "allowed me to become a person with self-confidence, independent strength, and passionate interest in the academic world." Besides empowerment, it also fostered her understanding of social justice, PoC struggles, and LGBTQ+ community struggles. Geared with these resources, Bermeo feels prepared to face the challenges she knows will come her way. Though it cannot offer you real challenges, it does help with developing resources to cope with it.

Even though same-sex schools don't prepare you for realistic aspects of the real world, it does give you the tools and resources you need to navigate around it. You just have to know how to utilize these resources to the best of your ability to maximize your potential.

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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Interpol Will 10/10 Hit Your Nostalgic Feels

Interpol's song All the Rage Back Home will hit you in the heart faster than you can say post-punk revival.

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So there are lots of songs that are my go-to's when it is 2 a.m. and I'm feeling things. But the song that I listen to when I'm feeling heartbreak, is none other than "All the Rage Back Home" by Interpol.

I asked a few friends what their interpretations of the song were, and here is what they thought, as follows:


Meaning #1: I believe that this song is about a man whose youthful romantic delusions begin to fade with maturity.

The song begins in a type of romantic rapture with the singer being nearly unaccompanied.

It then jumps to life when he says structure. As he says structure, the mood of rapture is brought back to earth with the actual presence and demands of the other.

The phrase "I keep falling…" sets up the idea of a happy sentiment, which is undercut with both the shift from a major to a minor chord and the kicker "... maybe half the time." It is a man who cannot sustain the romantic illusions of his youth.

The title of the song is cryptic, but I believe it refers to both the disappointment and unhappiness he feels in himself. It also imposes on his partner, for whom he can no longer be the perfect poet-lover.

Meaning #2: Frustrated anger messing up his creative ambitions?

The source of anger is his memory of the distant past, coming to the realization that his lovers did not really love him. He then rejects rational thought to ease the sense of loneliness and lost hope and goes back to a romantic picture of the past.

He cannot get what he wants, the way he wants it; stuck between wanting the truth to feel dissolved and free from the concept of either/or, and his fear that such a state would dissolve love too, and that it might not be such a great idea even if it ends in various troubles and an inescapable overall need for love.

Finally, he cannot tell what is what and decides he came at it a wrong, blaming his propensity for anger.

Finally, my thoughts on the song - Meaning #3: I feel the song is reflective of himself, hence how at first he talks of "my 18 summers" and his relationships through time, both with women and himself. Perhaps he is fed up of this/does not feel as strongly as the girl does, or is as equally upset as her but instead of crying, is silent. This is demonstrated in how he says "Oh, the feeling" - either a feeling of love/sadness with her or a feeling of being lost within this entire thing (the relationship).

The latter interpretation that he is somewhat at a loss with this relationship could be backed up in the second part where she tells him "you don't need time" which reminds me of a guy taking a break, needing time to think and her saying "you don't need to!" To which he says "You don't need mine (time)" and to "behave" … perhaps in the meantime of their break.

The rest of the song continues to be a back-forth of feelings he's experiencing, the girl, his sense of confusion "I keep falling - maybe half the time - but it's all the rage back home" - I feel like when he says "it's all the rage back home" he's almost trash-talking about these feelings of love/etc., not being what they're cracked out to be. Ultimately, he is confused in himself and this reflects in his relationships with the girl(s) he speaks of in the song.

Although the song is unbearably heart-wrenching, it is overall still an amazing song that hits you JUST right.

10/10 strong recommend.

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