Here it is, the church/school where I spent my middle school years. Holy Trinity in Bloomington Illinois.
As I try to get in touch with my inner middle school student I took some time to reflect back on my own experience. Here are some of the memories that stood out:
-One of the most unforgettable events was being "dumped" by all of my friends at the beginning of 7th grade. In 5th and 6th grade I was a part of the popular crowd. This crowd was as stereotypical as they come. All of the girls were pretty, their families were wealthy, and their attitudes were snooty-to-the-max. I spent the first two years of middle school begging my parents for things that they couldn't afford including things as outlandish as a country club membership and a spring break vacation to Destin, Florida. While I tortured my parents at home, I was just as bad to my fellow classmates at school. I would create exclusive clubs flaunt their existence as being the ultimate in cool and then refuse to let the other girls participate. As we returned to school for 7th grade I got a taste of my own medicine. Mysteriously my cool friends started giving me the stink eye and refusing to talk to me. The only explanation I got from them is "We're not friends anymore."
-Then there is the more positive side to this sad middle school tale. While sitting in Mr. Vogel's homeroom Amy Bartolo and Diane Swanson asked me, "Hey Sarah, what's up with Taylor and Bridget? You haven't been hanging out with them lately." I'm not sure why but this small inquiry blossomed into a friendship that still holds strong to this day. These girls noticed I was suddenly alone and reached out to me. They didn't judge me or my mean girl actions of the past two years, they simply invited me into their world. It turns out I felt much more comfortable with my new crowd. I didn't have to pretend to be rich, I didn't have to wear make up, and best of all I didn't have to mean to my classmates in order to keep my street cred.
-My number one most awkward memory: Most girls developed breasts, all girls bought a bra, I take off my shirt to change for P.E. and flash a bare flat chest. When did this happen!?! When I was the last bare chested 7th grader at HTGS I begged my mother to buy me a bra and all she said was "Why do you want to start wearing a bra? You don't even need one." Oh gee, thanks mom. After a few weeks of wearing one of my t-shirts under my gym shirt to avoid flashing my classmates, my mom gave in and bought me some bras.
-One of the biggest changes to take place in middle school was my relationship with boys. Where as before it was non existent, now I saw them and I desperately wanted them to see me. Sixth grade was the year of the 3 week 'relationship.' I'm not sure how it would happen, but somehow I would couple up with a boy. We would pass notes in school and talk on the phone at night. No dates, no intimacy and then after approximately 3 weeks the relationship would peacefully disband and we would both move on.
This self reflection has been helpful for me and I hope it has sparked some long forgotten memories for you as well. If I ever enter another middle school classroom, this time as the teacher, I will make sure to channel these memories once again in order to empathize with the harsh reality that middle school can sometimes be.
-Middle School memories provided by: Sarah