Hi there. My name is Catherine. I’m seventeen years old, and I am a junior at in Syosset and from Wantagh.
The first thing that a stranger (who has never attended Catholic school) asks me is the following, invariable question: “What’s Catholic school like?”
It’s definitely an interesting experience, I’ll tell you that. At Mercy, we have nine periods that span throughout the school day, which starts at eight in the morning and ends at three. Most of the teachers, believe it or not, are lay people, and many of the few nuns who work at my school dress like every-day people. They seem to love their jobs, and they’re all interesting, friendly characters. I’ve even become close friends with some of these teachers, which I guess could be considered a rarity. But, at least at my school, it’s like a close-knit family.
However, my elementary and middle school experiences were much different. Yes, I also went to Catholic school back then. Just like at any school, there was bullying—and I was a victim. But we were all innocent and foolish back then, and I did have a few lifelong friends that survived those troubled years. Just like at Mercy, I became close to a few teachers at my primary/secondary school as well.
However, not as many people ask me about what it’s like going to an all-girls Catholic high school. It does take some time to get used to not seeing boys in the hallway every day, but it’s actually survivable. Most of us tie our hair back with ponytails or clip it back with bows. Many of us don’t even wear makeup.
By the time sophomore or junior year rolls around, we could recognize almost all of our peers. Sure, we have our disagreements, and there are some people that can be kind of rude, but we’re still, as I said before, a family. We hold the door for each other. We say hello to each other when we pass in the hallway. We pray for each other’s families when there’s a death in the family, when someone’s undergoing surgery, etc.
The most important thing is that we’re all, for the most part, not afraid to show our true colors. In elementary and middle school, I was picked on for playing video games and the like, so I acted as if I disliked those hobbies. I was miserable.
High school was the exact opposite; heck, during midterms week, I was talking to one of my friends—a freshman—about Sonic Adventure 2. Being able to talk about my hobbies and likes with my peers has made me much more comfortable with being myself.
I’m not sure if many people would expect going to a Catholic, all-girls school would be that welcoming of an experience, but it is. Many people don’t seem to understand what going to Catholic school is. Popular media labels Catholic school students, such as myself, as a plethora of less-than admirable things.
But we’re oh so much different—and also no different from the average public school student. We share the same problems—an excess of homework, college applications, bullying, and more. This blog will not only be about Catholic school, but it will also be about the troubles of everyday life.
Let me introduce myself again. My name is Catherine, and I’m more than just a junior at Our Lady of Mercy Academy; I’m an average person, too.