This is a series about the places that shaped me and got me to where I am today. On Tuesday, I wrote a bit about my childhood home, the beginning of my journey. You can read it here. Today, I want to talk about how influential my early school years were.
I went to a small Catholic grade school called St. Barnabas. It was literally one house away from where I grew up. I could see the swing set and playground from my backyard. And, until they installed a huge floodlight on the side of the gym, I liked to sneak onto our roof and look at the stars at night during the summer. The stars disappeared with the light pollution.
The school was so important to my development, and I say that intentionally. Absolutely, I met lifelong friends there, and I still value those connections. But even the building and grounds had their effect.
In school, I tried basically every sport. Baseball, basketball, football, track, everything. I spent a lot of time in particular on the basketball court. It was my first true love. I was too small to play football legitimately, and basketball just felt like home. I played intramural basketball for them in high school, not skilled enough to play for my high school.
But being so close to the school also meant we spent a lot of time there at nights and on the weekends. Pickup football and baseball, sledding during the winter, and games similar to hide and seek were always on the agenda and it helped to grow our friendships with the kids in our neighborhood.
But it wasn’t all positive memories. I got hit by a car one morning before school when a parent wasn’t paying attention after dropping their kid off for school. I went through a lot of growing pains in the school as well. Outside of my core group of a few friends, I struggled in social settings. Definitely didn’t fit in with the “cool” kids.
But I was happy. Life had barely started and I was learning a lot, despite my middling grades. School always bored me, though not because I didn’t like learning or find (most of) the information interesting. I actually love learning. The problem was the system. A system built to have students hear information, remember it for a few weeks until a test, and then never have it be relevant to you again.
It was also here that my wary feelings of authoritative figures bloomed. Not because they’re bad people, but because they, whether ready and willing or not, are the gatekeepers. They control your environment, the speed at which you are given information, and ultimately can determine your success. And I’ve never enjoyed that feeling of a lack of control.
I hate to end on a sour note because the majority of my time at the school was great. It was a tiny nest to help build the necessary skills I’d need going forward. And I left with a lot of positive memories that I still think back fondly on today, especially if a group of us gets together and reminisce.
But I can also safely say that a lot of my insecurities with myself and how I was being percieved started to form here as well. More tales for a later time.
Thank you for reading. I know these posts won’t mean much to most, but every moment that someone takes to read anything I write means the world to me.