When I left middle school, many things changed. For one thing, I wasn't able to get away with murder — well, that was the only thing I was aware of until recently.
In your public library, I'm purely assuming, there's probably a section called Young Adult Fiction. A lot of this stuff consists of television fanfics and novelisations — Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sweet Valley High — and dramatic kid novels that supposedly document a kid's adventure in seventh or eighth grade, or perhaps facing the impending age of seventeen. One book in particular at my library is modelled as a collection of blog entries and has a back cover that looks roughly like a profile you'd encounter on Bebo. This wasn't the thing that shocked me; rather, it was that the narrator was a thirteen-year-old girl. Just passed the COPPA clearance, a year away from eligibility on MySpace — and from the looks of it, one of many in a breed that's been hunched on the Internet so much that it partially governs their lives. Many of the teenage books on the shelf are in the same format — many girls under the age of consent blogging about their school life. (Now I understand why MySpace is taken so seriously.)
And this past Sunday I eavesdropped on some of the high-school freshmen that attend the youth summit with me chatting fervently about MySpace and comments made by boys they'd dumped or girls they'd faced off against. And there was me thinking that this was only supposed to be characteristic of high-school upperclassmen — how wrong I was.
These days, I'm starting to miss my old middle school days. I'm thinking that it should have remained the same through high school, but two things happened: There were three schools to which we could go without much hitch, and I went to the least popular of the three. On top of that, I'd decided that, after introspection, that it wouldn't be worth any effort to contact any of them thereafter, instead relying on chance encounters. As a result, I ended up where I had no support from anyone else except an uncle (who put pressure on me in his Physics classes). I was done with the graduating class merely because I was too lazy to attempt to connect.
When you compare my high school years to middle school years, it's no contest. Even though I had been in withdrawal for some middle school years, I couldn't love them more. It's probably due to the fact that I had people who knew me and admired me — probably for the wrong reasons, but I still had some sort of company. I was able to go to dances with them; we could simply trot down to their residences in cases of projects; secrets were few and far between. I only realised this when I looked through those books at the library — I found that my best years were back in the seventh and eighth grade, and they would remain the best as long as I lived. It doesn't matter to me that I had a big head back then but didn't realise it; I'm making this comparison using mind settings of those times for each one. Even if I hadn't been as big-headed, there still were dances and secrets. Someone was paired up and dances were always fun, even if you did get your helmet destroyed or got embarrassed trying to dance for the first time, later to sink so deep into it that you got a fetish for the next four years. The drawback, though, was that I had been hit in the face with a short anti-Pokémon spell, rumours going about that I was infatuated with a Muslim student, and (this killed the rumours right away) the stigma of having sworn at another student for spitting in the group's cheese dip.
In high school, though, this was not present. If it indeed was, it wasn't widespread. In my first year both major dances were cancelled due to attendance issues. Plus which, more anti-Pokémon sentiment was in the air, and it took four years to go away. It was only until year three, when the health sciences programme was in full swing, when anything started happening. Compared with the students who were either unhealthily obnoxious or immersed in their studies, the breed the nursing programme drew in was a mixture of the two. Sometimes you'd have a few who wouldn't really be learning to be a nurse (I wonder how their internships will go). All in all, however, they had some charisma; alas, since it's been three years since I started, I'm going to narrowly miss the real activity I could have had to rival the days of middle school.
And had those books mirrored what my life in seventh grade was like, I'd be a giddy little fish that James wouldn't stand — probably solely based on the possible ownership of a MySpace or Bebo account. But for my time, Kidz Bop did rule. At least that was enough.