First Day in Public School

I looked in horror at the couple making out against the lockers. It was my first time seeing such things happening up close. They seemed so passionate and adult. So this is what public high school is like…

Prior to entering this concrete jungle, I attended a private Catholic elementary school. We went to mass every week, said morning prayers, wore plaid skirts and hair longer than shoulder length was tied back. Even the boys weren’t allowed to have hair touching their ears. “Couples” didn’t hold hands, least of all KISS in plain sight of others.

So yeah, my first day of public school was a big shock.

And the shock only continued.

I was appalled when I heard a student talking back to a teacher. Not only was the student being rude and disrespectful, he was using profanity. At my previous school, behavior like that would be unheard of. We would never call a teacher anything other than “Mrs. So-and-So” or “Mr.So-and-So”. Every time a person of importance entered the room, the entire classroom would stand and greet the person, “Good afternoon, Mr.So-and-so”. What a stark difference.

To this day, I still hardly ever paint my nails or wear makeup. Such things were not allowed. But one can also blame that on my overall character, since plenty of my previous classmates have no qualms with such things.

I remember feeling like the school was so large. At my previous school, each grade had about 60 kids in it. Many people, like me, had attended there from K-8th. So basically, everyone know everyone else. And you knew their entire family too, since their siblings were usually enrolled in a different grade. Compare this to my high school graduation, where I saw people that I didn’t even know existed in the four years I attended there.

Also, growing up I didn’t know anyone who wasn’t Catholic! Everyone at school was, or you assumed that they were. In high school, people didn’t talk or care about religion much. It was only in college that I learned more about other religious traditions and grew to really love learning about them!

Attending Catholic private school was really like living in your own little bubble. At the time it didn’t feel that way, and even now I like to think that my childhood was pretty normal. But when I describe my experiences to others, they think I’m really weird ahahaha!

All the same, I’m grateful for the experiences that I had. I had some of the best teachers, and still keep in touch with some of my friends 🙂 I’m still active in their community, and visit every once in a while. I feel like my experiences there have really had a hand in shaping who I am today.

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8 Responses to First Day in Public School

  1. gpyrois says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this article as I had an almost identical experiences growing up. people don’t realize how far removed Catholic school is from the inner city public schools. The shock I received going from a private to public school in 6th grade still blows my mind today. But my foundation of being in that private school community has aided me tremendously throughout my adult life.

    • Hahaha glad you could relate 🙂 I didn’t mention it in here but school functions like dances were also really different. When I told people that our dances were in the middle of day at school they thought I was so weird! Physical education was also a lot harder in public school haha, I had never run the mile before in my life. I’m glad that you also agree that it had a good effect on you. Knowing all of these facts, would you (or have you already) put your kids through private school?

      • gpyrois says:

        I definitely would put my kids in private school or home school if I had the means. The public schools in most of the cities these days are such a risk it is sad.

  2. braixetta says:

    Public school is crazy. I used to go, but I’ve been homeschooled ever since the came out with the “lock down drill”. There are multiple reasons that people should be less in public schools. You pick up or see so many bad things:

    • bad language

    • inappropriate imagery/porn

    • smoking

    • drinking beer

    • bad personality: hitting girlfriend/boyfriend, yelling at parents, straying from religion, (etc.)

    • teen pregnancy

    There are so many bad things. I’m positive you will see those things. At least once, if you haven’t already. 🙂

    Best wishes!


    • Hahaha some of these things are true, I have seen almost all of them. But I do have to say some of my teachers were the absolute best and I love them dearly. Also, not every apple in the bucket was bad 😛 I personally hung out with people who didn’t party, smoke, drink etc. I think it really depends on the individual. Although, yes, compared to being homeschooled or enrolled in private school, you will encounter these things at a higher rate.

  3. chrissquiers says:

    I also attended a public high school after spending k-8 in Catholic school. Don’t fret, you’ll get through it! I found that public school helped me grow in my faith. Most of the kids I went to k-8 with went to Catholic high school and fell away, because they ended up taking their faith for granted. Good luck!

    • Hahaha thanks! I did survive, perhaps I should’ve stated more clearly that this was looking back. I’m about to start my second year of college 🙂 I have friends that went to Catholic high school that are still strong in their faith, but there are people who get tired of it after not being exposed to anything else. What personally helped me stay with the faith and grow deeper was my confirmation. After I was confirmed I joined the youth ministry and started working as a catechist and small group leader. I no longer do it anymore, but it was a good experience getting to share my faith with others. Thanks for also sharing your experiences, and taking the time to read and comment!

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