School Days




Best H.S. Valentine’s EVER.

comment | February 15th, 2013

2 hearts

(A friend sent us this Valentine's from the head of the Santa Monica HS PTA to their students.  Best Valentine's ever.) Dear Santa Monica High School Students, We love you. But today, it's not enough that we love you; it's important to tell you that we love you and why we do. We love you because you're trying hard. Because you're all different. Because you're perfect the way you are. Because you're our future. We love you because you make us happy.And we love you because you make our community whole. It doesn't matter whether anyone outside our community doesn't love you, or wants to change you, wants you to be something you're not, or wants you to listen to what they say no matter how offensive or ignorant it is. In our community, you are welcome, you are accepted, your opinions count, your beliefs are sacred, and you can love whomever you choose. You're one of us, and we love you for that.Take this message from this love letter: we don't want you to change, but we want you to grow. Just the way you've been growing, in the same directions and with ...

Not As Pretty As I Want To Be

7 comments | October 31st, 2012

black explosion chestist

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist, now on OOC rewind)

We're assuming this comes from one of our younger readers.  Any advice from any of you who've been there before?  Here's what she's got to share:

I always felt really sad for not being as pretty as I wanted to be.

Then I had a nose-job and I was sure I would feel better, because it's an expensive plastic surgery that is supposed to make you look better (even if it's not that much) but never worse. It turns out I look worse.

I had this surgery 6 months ago and I've been crying since then. Not only because I still don't feel pretty, but because I actually miss my face. I looked better before. I'm disappointed and now I don't have any hope. I totally regret this surgery. I wish I could go back 6 months and tell myself that I looked just fine. Now I can't even take pictures 'cause my nose looks bent. I try to think "It's just a little imperfection" but that makes me angry, because I wasn't born with it, it ...

#lifestagesI Struggle Everyday

8 comments | March 20th, 2012


(story submitted anonymously, by a 20 yo Chestist)

Sometimes we're held back by things within our individual control, and sometimes by things outside our control.  And then sometimes the things that might hold us back actually push us forward.  Here's her story: My disability feels like a lead weight around my ankle.

Thanks to my ADD, it takes me so much longer to do anything than it does my friends. It takes more effort to pay attention to everything, even just a conversation. I'm in college, at a public university with classes commonly as large as 500 students. I want to go to vet school, one of the hardest professional programs to get into. I struggle every day. I never get a break. And sometimes? I feel like I'm just lazy. Or that I don't work hard enough. That I'm using it as a crutch. It doesn't help when people say that it isn't a real disability or even anything other than looking for an excuse to fail.

But the thing is, as much as it breaks me down, beats at my confidence, makes me completely ...

#lifestagesNot Enough Keggers?

4 comments | March 2nd, 2012

Sketch 2011-01-27 12_15_17

(submitted by OOC)

According to this NYT article 39% of college women reported feeling overwhelmed versus only 18% of men.  Yup, 2x as many women.  Why?

It hasn't been all that long since some of us here at OOC were in college, and while there were certainly pressures in those years, we'd have had a hard time believing that nearly 40% our peers were feeling 'overwhelmed.'  What gives?  Is it really the economy hating on our happy?  Or is it bigger than that?  Let's #discuss.

#lifestagesNot Everyone With Depression Is a Quiet Kid

4 comments | March 1st, 2012

black explosion chestist

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

No matter how open-minded and conscious we may be, we can all fall back to judging books by their covers and people by what we see sometimes.  But, we're reminded by this story that never know anyone's real story until they share it. She shares hers here:

When you can convince people you are shallow, no one bothers jumping in.

When the surface is shiny, no one looks beyond.

Sometimes it's the ditzy sugar-coated valley girls who are deeply unhappy. Not everyone with depression is a quiet kid who wears all black. Sometimes the best way to go unnoticed is to wear hot pink and contrary to popular belief, guys look at you less if you show some cleavage (no one's ever gonna look you in the eyes if you're givin em a free show). I hide behind popularity. I am not who I present myself to be. I'm not confident. I'm not vapid. I'm not stupid. I'm not happy. I'm not even a real blonde. I'm just a girl who's had way too much practice lying. I had to hide the bruises ...

#lifestagesWhat’s The Meanest Thing You’ve Ever Said?

15 comments | February 24th, 2012

mean girls

(by OOC)

I was 13.  It was a friend's Bat Mitzvah party (yea, that's how we rolled).  I was the new kid in class and wanted to be popular.  And so I walked up to a girl (MM) who'd gone to the school before I did and left when her family moved, two years earlier, who for ehaterv reasons many of my new friends didn't like very much.  I walked straight up to her and said "I don't even know you and I don't like you" and turned around triumphantly.

Hands down the meanest thing I've ever said to anyone.  To add insult to injury...3 years later at Tennis Camp (yea, we rolled like that too), I was again the new kid but this time she was there.  What did she do?  She embraced me with open arms and mind and became a friend.  She was far more evolved than I was.

What's the meanest thing you've ever said to someone?  Why'd you say it?  How'd they react?  Go on and let it out and let it go.  And remember, you can always share it anonymously here @OOC.  ...

#lifestagesJackie O on School Days

9 comments | February 21st, 2012


"If school days are the happiest of your life, I'm hanging myself with my skiprope tonight." (at the age of 16, in 1945.)  We hesitated before posting this, and not just because we had to look up what a "skiprope" is.

The hesitation was because the prevalence and incidence of teen suicide has skyrocketed since 1945, as has the prevalence and incidence of eating disorders, bullying, drug addicition etc etc.  Yea, yea, we know, it was 1945 and 1945 was a long, long time ago.  Of course what hasn't changed is the difficulty of being 16 +/-.  Hard in 1945, hard today. 

So, no matter what your age, no matter what year you did or will (or didn't or won't) make it through High School, we've all got stories of school days and growing up - so let's share them.  Tell us about yours. Happy, sad, or not much worth talking about?  School days and growing up...let's #discuss.

#lifestagesBeing a Teenage Girl Sucks

7 comments | February 16th, 2012

party girl

(story submitted anonymously, by a teenaged Chestist)

Are you a teen, been a teen, raising a teen?  If you are, have been, or might'll get this, and her story:

Being a teenager sucks bad. Being a teenage girl sucks even more.

Okay, so I like this guy... a lot. I catch myself glancing at him every 10 minutes at least in school, which is really embarassing because I'm sure someone has noticed. I can't talk to him at all. I'm an extremely shy person, except when I'm with my friends. We have a really small school so we are in pretty much all our classes together. Almost everytime he's near me and I'm with my friends, I try to show off, which is absolutely ridiculous. I actually find myself thinking about what I can say and do to catch his attention. I end up making a huge fool of myself.

I never used to act like this around anyone before. The problem is, I can't seem to stop acting like a crazy person when I'm around him. It's realllly bad, or at least I see it that way. ...

#lifestagesCan You Fail at Growing Up?

comment | January 31st, 2012

chestist enthralled

(story submitted by Casey, a 16 yo Chestist)

We talk a lot about expectations here @OOC.  They can motivate us and they can smack our happy around like nobody's business.  Here's Casey's story, and all we want to do is give her a big digital hug (so we are). 

I feel I'm not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not popular enough, not funny enough, not smart enough.

I guess everyone in high school feels like this, but I guess I thought on the edge of sixteen I'd have something going for me. Instead I feel like a failure. I remember being in kindergarten and dreaming about being sixteen. I remember thinking that I'd be beautiful, top of my class academically, popular, and everyone's best friend. When I was really young, I was a beautiful kid. I was told that on a regular basis. I even tried modeling. When I hit puberty, that changed. I wasn't perfect anymore - and I've never gotten over that.

When I was a little kid, I figured that I'd always be beautiful and popular like I was in kindergarten. I forgot to take ...

Love & SexHigh School Romance & Lessons Learned

3 comments | January 27th, 2012

chestist blue

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

If you manage to make it out of High School in one piece it can be easy to look back on those loves, lusts, and infatuations and laugh at the intensity and future-of-the-world import they all carried.  When we're going through them though, there's nothing funny about it them all.  Nope, nothing.  Here's her story:

I'd had feelings for him since we met. We’ll call him Lewis. My sophomore year he asked my friend Nicole to homecoming after playing us both at the same time for a while. It was a slap in the face, so I asked him to Turnabout. He said yes, but then started dating a girl we’ll call Shelly, so I told him he could go with her instead. He then asked another of my good friends (Elizabeth) to prom, a third slap in the face, to hide the fact that he had been cheating on Shelly with my friend Claire. They broke up and, as you can expect, started dating Claire for real. I pretended not to know about the cheating because Claire is one of ...


9 comments | January 14th, 2012

chestist enthralled

(submitted anonymously by a Chestist.  oringinally in May, again today)

To start with, let's get this out of the way. I am a college age girl (I do consider myself a girl because, let's face it, I am far from a woman when I spend my favourite Thursday nights colouring with my friends) with ADD and Anxiety Disorder NOS. I feel so incredibly trapped by these conditions. I want to scream every time I want to focus, but can't, or can't tear myself away from something distracting. I want to, and frequently do cry when something that I see my friends brush off makes me so uncertain of my own ability to get through. Anything unknown in my life sends fear and panic right through me. There are so many negative things bubbling up in me, threatening to burst. Am I alone in this? I feel it so often, I'm more surprised when it's gone than when the fear is there. And yet, it feels a bit better to talk about, even though that talking hurts.  {end story}


#lifestagesThe More You Know

61 comments | January 10th, 2012


(story by Mir, from I grew up in the 70s and 80s, which was of course the era of Very Meaningful After School Specials and the little "The More You Know" PSAs on television. (Also: "This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?" My smart-ass question was always, "But what if I want my eggs scrambled?") I attended middle and high school just as national phobia about the AIDS epidemic hit, too, which meant that I was subjected to year after year of watching middle-aged women---always someone a little stodgy, unflappable, and so unremarkable that we all felt positive she had most certainly NEVER had sex---come to an assembly for the express purpose of rolling a condom down a banana as a demonstration of How To Stay Safe. Schools were teaching sex ed with a vengeance, you might say. At least where I was. Plus, as I've mentioned before, I grew up in a household that very much believed that knowledge is power. My mother talked to me early and often about my body, sexual maturation, and all ...

#lifestagesISO: Housemate and Advice

1 response | December 29th, 2011

chestist sad

(story submitted by Sara, a 20 yo Chestist)

Have you ever been hesitant to do the right thing - because you think it's the wrong thing for you?  She ias and here's her story:

My friends and I are looking for an extra housemate for next year. A girl we all know has asked if she can live with us. We have always been good friends, but she has taken this year out to have therapy. She had depression and has a personality disorder. She says she is doing much better, and is taking medication etc, but I am cautious about living with her.

I really want to help her out, I'm just wondering whether it is a good idea. We all like her a lot, so it may well be better than if we had to live with a stranger, but if it turns out that coming back to study is too much for her, I don't want to have to deal with it too much. I have also suffered from stress and anxiety related problems, although not to the same extent, and I know ...

#lifestagesFailing Out

5 comments | December 24th, 2011

chestist sad

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

Just the thought of school is enough to make us run screaming into the night.  We didn't like it, and we didn't often do that well at it.  One of you wrote us with this and it seems she's having her struggles too:

I'm slowly failing out of school, little by little. My GPA is lowered enough that I'm going to lose my scholarship. My parents only tell me to get As and yell at me when I don't.

Getting a C is utter failure and getting an F is the most unthinkable thing. But I've gotten an F now.

The people in my real life never listen to me or ask why this happens, they just demand I do better. The only salvation I have is from internet friends who support and listen to me. {end story}

It's our opinion here @OOC HQ, that school's just not for everybody and that how well one does in school isn't necessarily a predictor of how well you're going to do out of school.  Don't get us wrong, we're all about education and learning how ...


4 comments | December 16th, 2011

mean girls

(story submitted by RES, an 18 yo Chestist)

Bullying, digital, physical, out of control.  Has it gotten worse, or are we getting more intolerant of its intolerance?  Here's one reader's story:

I've always been teased or bullied, and sometimes I don't feel like I love or respect myself enough (or I'm not strong enough to stand up for myself) and so I let people take advantage of me.

It takes a lot to wear my tolerance/patience down, and it's become a problem. Even after my family and true friends tell me how proud they are of me and how much they love me, I have yet to love myself as much. I don't know what's taking so long for me. {end story}  

Have you - or someone you loved - been bullied?  Why; for what?  Maybe back in the day you were a bully?  What happened?  How's it affect you now?  What advice do you have for RES and anyone else going through this?  Why do you think it's so much "easier" to feel the wrath of the bully than the love of your friends?

And for any of ...