As much as we hate to say it, summer’s coming to an end. Which means it’s high time you started thinking about getting back to school. For some of you lovely ladies, this may entail going to an entirely new school—and even more exciting? You might be going to an all girls school.
Single sex schools have a reputation for being hellishly awful. Between watching Blair Waldorf scheme her way to the top of Constance Billiard and the sympathetic coos of your friends when they find out that you’re going to one, it’s easy to feel a little depressed about your current academic situation. Trust me, I feel your pain.
I went to an all-girls school from junior kindergarten to grade 12, and I’d like to argue that yes, some of what you heard may be true: all-girls schools are indeed competitive. Some people are high strung. Some people are baby sociopaths. But, I think that behaviour’s just a people thing, and not so much reflective of cramming a bunch of girls into a building for eight hours and forcing them to do trigonometry.
As a single sex school survivor, I’ll tell you how to make it through.
1. Ditch the preconceived notions. Just because there aren’t any boys around doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s open season on your sanity. Not all girls are catty Eve Harrington-types hellbent on stealing your life, or making your high school experience as miserable as possible, so before thinking yourself into a hole, think about all the great potential friendships you could make. Some of my closest friends (to this day) are the people I met in kindergarten at Havergal, or randomly in the halls at BSS.
2. Get involved. Many all girls schools boast about the sheer amount of extra curricular activities available for students…so…why not get involved? You could discover a potential passion for robotics, film, or even Model UN if you just stick your name on that sign up sheet.
3. Don’t worry about boys. Since going to an all girls school, and then attending a co-ed university, I noticed a marked difference in the way that girls interacted. In my high school classes, girls were unafraid to speak their opinions, and strove to be the ones with the highest grades, the most hand-raises, which fostered a competitive yet supportive environment that was conducive to learning. In university? Not so much. It got depressing that boys dominated the conversations (even when they were wrong), and I yearned to return to my nerd cocoon. Worrying that guys will think you’re weird for being intelligent, well spoken, and passionate about something isn’t…well, uh, something you should worry about. I hate to go all older sister on you, but seriously, guys at this age don’t know a good thing even if she walked up to them and said “Hi, I’m a good thing, how’s it hanging?”– so don’t feel the need to develop a persona outside of school that isn’t you in order to seem “attractive”.
4. If you do get into drama, know that it doesn’t last forever. I’m not going to sugar coat things and say that attending an all girls school was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had–there were friend break ups, there were disputes. Actually, there was a whole ton of stupid bullshit. Yet, the thing to keep in mind is when everyone’s hormones are on the fritz, and everything seems like it’s life or death, sometimes the crap can hit the proverbial fan. If it happens? Take a deep breath, listen to some Hole, and practice the exceptionally hard, yet exceptionally necessary art of “not giving a fuck”. Works wonders, I assure you.
5. Support each other. High school is HARD. Don’t make it any harder for yourself or other people.
6. You CAN make dude friends. It’s possible. While I wasn’t a fan of attending high school dances, there are a ton of activities where you can meet guys who may just become your closest friends for life. Whether it’s going to a debate tournament, or just hanging with some of your closest friends at the movies.
7. You don’t need to a bitch to survive. Some people think that the only way to make it out alive is to kill, or be killed. When really, the only thing you need to kill is the negativity. Just do the things that you like, and surround yourself with positive people who challenge, inspire, and appreciate you.
8. Don’t wear bright nail polish. They’ll send you to the office for nail polish remover. Take my advice… just don’t.