Big 50 Volume 7: School

Ahh school.  What a varied 13 years that was for me.  It was some of the best times of my youth, and also some of the worst times of my life.

I did 12 years of school in Rosewood, which is to the South West of Brisbane.  From Kindergarten through to the beginning of Year 12, I went to school with mostly the same kids.  It was only at Easter in my Senior year that my mother had the bright idea of forcing me to move to another town and therefore another school (yeah, that’s a REALLY good idea) that I went to Beaudesert High.  Not only is Beaudesert High one of the most disgusting schools about (well, it certainly was in those days), the whole town is a dump that I’d be happy to never see again.  The only thing that ties me there is my grandparents.

School was rough for me a lot of the time because of the bullying, but I loved classes and learning and had some fantastic teachers.  I would read anything that was put in front of me (I had read the entire small school library collection by Grade 3) and in primary school loved writing, art, science and social studies (mostly history and geography in those days).  My primary school was on the other side of town to where we lived, so it was a bike ride or a long walk for a kid to get to school then.  I loved that ride or walk in the winter time, but it was really tough in the stifling heat of summer.

High school was even tougher, but I also found that I was really good at some things, so I poured myself into them.  More reading, and the teacher librarian practically adopted me.  I pretty much lived in the library.  I was also really good at English and History, so I poured myself into projects from those subjects.  I was a big old nerd, and I still am.   I found more valuable friends in high school, and deepened friendships that I had in primary school, which was great.  And I discovered my geekery was very, very welcome around older boys who were also geeks.  I had so many great friends, all the fellow geeks, nerds and weirdos from grades older than me in the first half of high school.  It was never anything sexual (well, I did have a couple of boyfriends out of that pool) but simply that my weird arse self got along with geeky boys a few years older than me than anyone else.  I also seemed to be a friend magnet for every gay male in a 20km radius too.  Sadly a lot of those guys are no longer with us, having either taken their own lives as a result of bullying and shame, or their lives being taken from them by a drug addiction they used to escape the bullying and shame.

When I changed schools in Senior year, I ceased to care about studying.  I didn’t care about doing well in school and going on to university any more.  I figured if others didn’t care how their actions affected my education, then why should I care?  So I just goofed off, wagged a lot of days, and spent my time avoiding a whole new set of bullies.  I made some friends, that’s all that really got me through.  I just scraped a pass for senior.  Where back at Rosewood I was in the top 10 percent of the school.

I’ve managed to connect with the few good people I wanted to connect with from my school days, all of them from Rosewood.  It’s funny that so many of the kids that never would have spoken to me before, or even actively bullied me, now keep requesting my friendship on Facebook, and beg me to go to school reunion events.  Most of them haven’t grown at all since they left school – they just have a smaller and smaller pool of people who will tolerate their bullshit.  They don’t seem to want to move forward at all, just stay perpetually in high school mode.

A lot of people view school as this rosy time they look back on, but not me.  I believe now is the best time of my life, and it’s only getting better.


November 7, 2010. Beaudesert, Big 50, Rosewood, school.


  1. mimbles replied:

    I was once allowed, when I was in year 10, to order a whole bunch of sci-fi and fantasy books from Galaxy bookshop for my high school library. I have no idea how I managed to convince the librarian to let me do that, but it was lots of fun!

    • sleepydumpling replied:

      I used to be allowed to do that too, both Primary and High school. In fact in High school, she used to give me the order list and ask me to check it and add any I thought we would need.

  2. Ariane replied:

    My school experience was infinitely improved by moving from a country town to Sydney in the middle of year 9. I very deliberately reinvented myself, and I fitted in better in the city anyway. I didn’t have a rotten time before that, but I don’t miss it. Not even slightly.

    I always feel sorry for anyone who says their school days were the best of their lives.

    • sleepydumpling replied:

      It was the opposite for me. I was happy in my little town with it’s High school of less than 500 kids. Beaudesert was more than double that and I hated it so much.

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