Next week, it’s time for our Swedish high school students to graduate. The event is called studenten, and it’s tradition for girls to wear white (the guys are ususally wearing black suits). Sure, it might have been nine years since my high school graduation – but that doesn’t mean I can’t pretend I’m still 18 and have my whole life ahead of me!
When I graduated, I wore an off-white dress I’d thrifted the day before. I can’t remember ever seeing it in my wardrobe, so I guess someone must have spilled red wine all over it or something. Oh, and I was barefoot – I bought some two dollar shoes at the same charity shop, but I think my feet hurt and I left them somewhere even before the ceremony started. I’ve never seen any photos from my graduation – the fancy but affordable DSLR cameras had not yet entered the market. If I’d have graduated today, I would probably have taken about five thousand photos!
The weeks before my graduation were such a disaster. You see, up unitl the end of “högstadiet” (junior high, sort of), I was completely obsessed with my grades. I mean it: completely obsessed. If I missed one single point at a test, I would run off to the school bathroom and cry. I was the biggest geek you’ve ever seen and, looking back, the pressure I put on myself was absolutely ridiculous. My parents had nothing to do with it, even though of course I wanted to make them proud, but it was me and noone else who expected me to be the best in every single subject.
Naturally, everyone loathed me. It truly was a vicious cycle – I’d been bullied ever since I started school at six years old, and I figured my only value as a person was to get perfect grades. And the more obsessed I got about my studies, the more reason people felt like they had to torture me.
Well, that all changed. The summer between junior high and high school, I decided to undergo a total tranformation. An extreme makeover, if you so wish. I was going to go to a very advanced, well respected high school where noone knew me – I had a shot at becoming somebody else, “the person I was supposed to be”.
Read the whole story on my blog!