So this fall I've been helping coach a junior high volleyball team. The team is comprised of 17 6th-8th grade girls of varying athletic skills. We practice every weekday (is this a lot for 12 year olds or am I crazy??) and they've made a lot of improvement. I'm so proud of the little sweethearts.
Now, before I go all melty on you, I just have to say ONE thing that I've (re-)learned from this experience...
Thank goodness junior high is a thing of the past.
I had forgotten just how terrifying every day was, trying to be noticed but not if it was going to bring teasing, trying to wear cute clothes but not looking overdone, trying to hang out with guys but NOT letting them know who you really like! Everything you do or say is judged and analyzed immediately by 8 different people, and you've got about a 3% chance of coming off cool. As soon as field trips are announced it's a mad dash to find a seat partner, especially if you have an odd number of people in your class. Becoming "popular" is probably the most attainable good in life. And never let anyone know you're smart, a family fan or musically talented. Those will get you nowhere in 8th grade.
So like I said, thank goodness I'm not in junior high anymore. But wait a second... I'm sensing some kind of trend here... Let's face it, high school is basically an extension of junior high, with more questionable characters out there. And now we all know, in many ways, college is kind of just like high school except you eat more late-night drive through food. And now we're in the real world and...wait. It's still basically the same. Let's delve, shall we?
1. Trying to be noticed but not if it gets you teased - still happens. Of course at this age, the goal is to avoid the "Uh, do you know what you're doing?"
2. Trying to wear cute clothes but not be overdone -my every-morning challenge.
3. Trying to hang out with guys without letting them know who you really like - it's only more complicated now. And that probably deserves its own post.
4. Being judged and usually not ending up cool - still happens. Don't try to hide it.
5. Trying to find a seat partner - maybe not a seat partner, but I still want friends, ok?? Preferably in even numbers because I'm crazy like that.
6. Becoming popular is a huge goal - if popular means that people like me, then yes, still happens.
7. Don't let people know you're smart, family oriented or musical - this might be the one thing that's different. Although I still don't like to sing for people.
Have I made my point? Overly so? Sure, we're not in junior high anymore, but we're still trying to figure out life. So I can't blame the girls too much, because when it comes down to it, I know exactly what they're going through.