Here’s a list of questions about one’s high school days that I saw on Facebook recently. For the sake of being completionist, I’ve answered them, but the real meat of my response is below.
1. Did you know your spouse?
2. Did you car pool to school?
I rode my bicycle or, rarely, the bus.
3. What kind of car did you drive?
My bicycle was a Mongoose Crossway 450.
4. What kind of car do you have now?
My current bicycle is a Mongoose Crossway 450. Yes, I’ve been using the same bike for almost 20 years.
5. Where would you have been on a Tuesday afternoon?
After school in the fall I had cross country; in the spring I had track.
6. What kind of job did you have then?
Delivered newspapers in the morning.
7. What kind of job do you have now?
Still in school somehow, although I did take a break for seven years to teach English in Japan.
8. Were you a party animal?
For certain nonstandard definitions of “party,” perhaps. (No.)
9. Who was in your crew?
Nerds! Also… jocks? I was both in math club and a runner, and now that I think about it there was surprisingly little overlap between those groups.
10. Were you considered a jock?
Only insofar as a scrawny awkward long-distance runner can be one. (No.)
11. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?
I still can’t even read music. And I’m tone deaf.
12. Were you a nerd?
You get one guess, and if the answer isn’t “yes,” you lose.
13. Did you get suspended or expelled?
Not that I recall. Once in junior high I got detention for reading a book in class. I spent detention reading a book too.
14. Can you sing the fight song?
Nope. I can sing the first verse of the school song of the place I taught at in Japan, though! “Ashita wa hikaru…”
15. Who was/were your favorite high school teachers?
Two particular math teachers who taught most of my math. I liked and/or respected most of my teachers.
16. Where did you sit at lunch?
Wherever I could read a book on my own in peace.
17. What was your school’s full name?
18. What was your school mascot?
The Trojans. Nobody ever told any jokes about that. Maybe.
19. If you could go back and do it again, would you?
It depends. If I could go back and re-live most of my life with the knowledge, wisdom and experience I have now, I’d have the ability to achieve insane things. Simply repeating the experience verbatim doesn’t seem worthwhile, though.
20. Did you have fun at Prom?
It was so-so. The main event that sticks in my memory was my girlfriend’s friend being terribly sad that the guy who hadn’t wanted to go to prom with her, still didn’t want to dance with her now that they were both (separately) at prom.
21. Do you still talk to the person you went to Prom with?
Nope. I’m not even sure she’s on Facebook.
22. Are you planning on going to your next reunion?
Not planning to, but I might go if it happens at a time that’s convenient.
23. Are you still in contact with people from school?
Technically, a few of them, through Facebook. Not really, though.
24. What are/were your school’s colors?
Lots of red brick, if I recall. How is this an even remotely appropriate question to cap off this kind of list?
Overall, I’m disappointed in these questions. There was potential in the idea to make people really examine their lives – or society – and consider how things change with the march of time, experience, and age. Some of the questions point in the right direction: what is your relationship to the people and experiences you had in high school? How have you changed in the intervening time? But then it squanders this promise by asking about trivia, as if the trivia had equal weight.
Who cares what my high school mascot was? Who cares whether I remember what it was? Why is Tuesday specifically singled out – why not simply have one question for weekdays and another for weekends? Why do questions 8-12 essentially all ask the same thing? Why does #2 ask about carpooling specifically, instead of simply asking how people got to school?
In that spirit, here’s a list of questions that I think would produce more interesting results.
- 1A. How many details about your school’s rituals and pageantry can you recall? Go on, dredge up that trivia and spend a little while enjoying it and using it as a springboard to your memories.
- 1B. How do you feel about the amount and tone of the trivia that you remember?
- 2A. What was your social group like, and why were you part of that particular group?
- 2B. Are you part of a similar group now? What parts of your social identity have changed, and what parts remain constant?
- 2C. How many of the people you knew in high school are you still in contact with? (Include teachers.) What percentage of your current social circle do they make up? How has the role they play changed? How has your relationship with them changed?
- 3A. What classes from high school have had the most impact on the course of your life?
- 3B. What teachers (or coaches, or other school-affiliated mentor figures) have had the most impact on the course of your life, independent of what they taught?
- 3C. What extracurricular activities from high school have had the most impact on the course of your life?
- 3D. What other events from those years have had the most impact on the course of your life?
- 4A. How much of your current lifestyle is something you might have planned/predicted when you were in high school?
- 4B. Of the unexpected elements, how many would school-age you have thought were great, and how many would you have thought were bad? How many seem good or bad to you now?
- 5A. If you could re-live your high school experience with your current knowledge, would you want to… and what would you change?
- 5B. If you could re-live your high school experience exactly the way you lived through it the first time, would you want to? What parts would you most look forward to or dread?
- 5C. What do you think your answers to the above questions say about your current situation?
- 6. What aspects of your own experience would you definitely like to see reproduced, or avoided, in the experience of your children (hypothetical or real) when they go to high school in turn?
- 7. What were the color of your teacher’s best friend’s cat’s eyes?