Ah, high school. Such an idyllic and carefree time in our lives – or was it? If you went to a Catholic all-girls school, chances are it was probably the exact opposite. While our loving parents squirrelled money away for our educations with high hopes of what the status of such an institution could bring, we often feel like we were dealt the shorter end of the stick than kids who went to public school and didn’t have to deal with half of the problems we did. They were allowed to live out their youth, roam free and do pretty much as they pleased while we were ruled by an iron fist.
Even to this day, seeing a kilt can ignite the rawest of memories and make us feel things we thought we had long suppressed. While we might complain about how strict our schooling was, we’ve got to give it credit for turning us into the resilient, tough as nails young women we are now. If it weren’t for breaking all of the rules growing up, we wouldn’t have become as savvy and quick-witted as our current partners, friends and bosses love us for being today. But becoming this awesome did come at a price. From catfights to boxer shorts and grinding at school dances, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 problems only Catholic schoolgirls can understand.
10. Feeling Exposed
If you wore a kilt, you definitely also rocked a pair of shorts or boxers underneath it at some point or another to protect your dignity. Let’s face it, when you were walking down the street on a windy day, you didn’t want to give anybody a show. It was just more comfortable, you could cross your legs as you pleased and not have to worry who’s looking up at your butt if you were walking up the stairs. Plus, the shorts/boxers had a nice dual purpose: they kept you warm on those frigid winter days. Whether you preferred a baggier cut or spandex/lycra, there was a pair suited to everybody.
9. Kilt Measurements
Ah, the dreaded kilt measurement. One of our main goals throughout our schooling was how to teeter along the edge of a too short skirt without breaking our school’s rigid length rules. We all remember the girls whose kilts were too long, frumpy and matronly. We would not become one of them. There had to be a way to look attractive somehow while decked out in plaid wool. Whether the rule at your school was a fist above the knee or the tip of your fingers if your arms were by your side, you can bet that most of us were pushing the boundary. Only a lucky few didn’t get caught and stuck in detention.
8. Being Boy Crazy
Chances are, your Catholic school was girls only. And if it was, you were likely boy crazy. Having been deprived of daily male interaction for five to six years of your life, you probably graduated and ran towards any man you saw like a feline in heat. In between your emotionally crippling high school dry spell, you may have gone to an inter-school dance or two and learned how to grind against a pre-pubescent boy who had no idea what was happening. If you were lucky, that grinding turned into a date the following Friday night where you awkwardly mumbled and stared at the floor because you were never around boys and had no idea what to say to them.
7. Religious Ceremonies
Sure, our parents stuck us in Catholic school because it sounded nice on paper and would give us a wholesome education while teaching us impeccable manners and morals. But were any of us that religious? No. Chances are, 95% of the girls at your school could not care less about God’s will and were bored to tears counting the pews in the church during the religious ceremonies we were made to endure. We can all probably still recite the hymns we learned after having them seared into our memory by unrelenting nuns or choir directors.
What’s the only thing better to a creep than a young girl in a skirt? Why, a whole pack of young girls wearing skirts. Taking public transit home in your school uniform was a better lesson on the fetishes of older men than anything in your adult life could ever be. We got stared at, winked at and leered at on the regular. The naughty schoolgirl obsession isn’t just something you see in movies or Japanese culture. Whether you were hanging out at the mall, waiting for your Mom to pick you up at the public library or riding the bus home, you can bet that a creep ruined your day at least once.
When you put a bunch of girls into a building together, it’s impossible that any of them walk out of the building unscathed. Mix in the fact that everybody has just hit puberty and is learning to deal with a sudden onslaught of new hormones and emotions and you’ve got a formula more powerful than gasoline and fire. The catfights at Catholic school were ruthless – and we’re not talking physically. The level of gossip, silent treatment, harassment and verbal bullying that goes on between teenaged girls prepares you for any disagreement you could possibly have in your adult life. But it really sucks while you’re going through it.
4. Not Knowing How To Dress Yourself
So you wear a kilt, blouse, knee socks and/or tie every single weekday. On the weekends, you wear what few clothes your parents have agreed to buy for you – “since you don’t need that many because of your uniform anyway.” When you graduate, it takes you a loooong time to figure out what you’re supposed to put on. You’ve suddenly been opened up to five extra days of potential outfits and try out every trend in sight in rapid succession. Are you a goth? Are you a skater? Are you a prep? Are you girly? The opportunities are endless and you will go through many phases after high school before finding your own groove. The upside is that you get some awful photos to look back on.
3. Boring Hair and Nails
All of your public school friends invite you to their places after school and show off their cool green hair streaks and multicoloured nails. If you fall in love with a bottle of Manic Panic too, you’re out of luck at Catholic school. Having even a slightly out of the box hairstyle will land you a warning to go home and fix it or colour it back to a more neutral hue. The same goes for your nails. There will be no cool green and pink watermelon pattern kits that are all the rage at Claire’s and none of them allowed to you. You will be confined to a life of lackluster hair and nude nail polish until you break free and enter the real world.
2. Never Being Able To Skip School
All of those teen movies we watched growing up must have been lying to us. How did they manage to sneak out of school at recess and take their parents’ cars for joy rides without getting caught? How did they fake notes from doctors excusing them from class? Forget about skipping school in our world. Teachers call your Mom personally to verify a sick note and give your Dad a call on his cell phone if you were seven minutes late for chemistry. And your parents had already called in to say you were sick and wouldn’t be making it in? Well, chances are your school administrator called back your landline just to make sure the person who called in was actually a parent.
1. All Of The Rules
No matter how much you tried, there was no chance in hell (or maybe heaven would be more appropriate here) that you’d remember all of your Catholic school’s rules. You weren’t allowed walking across the street to buy food because it was unsafe. You couldn’t sit down in the halls because it was improper. Teachers were so busy yelling at your lack of improper socks that they skipped half of the curriculum they’d planned out for the year. And all of the seemingly meaningless rules set in place only made us want to rebel against them. But one thing’s for sure – they taught us how be resourceful in even the most unlikely of situations. For that, we’ve got to credit Catholic school and feel grateful.