You can learn a lot from going to an all girls high school — not all academic, and not all as terrible as you might think. I went to an all girls high school myself, and while I wouldn't wish high school upon my worst enemy, it's a necessary rite of passage both in education and socially. All girls high schools can be as lovely as Now & Then or as petulant as Mean Girls. There's rarely a happy medium when 100 girls trying to figure out exactly how to deal with period cramps for the first time in their lives synchronize their cycles. It's all very rough and confusing, but the good news is everyone (hopefully) comes out better at the end.
It's not all doom and gloom. Teenage girls aren't just spitting gum in each others' hair and spreading STD rumors. There is a solidarity at an all girls school that that teaches you a thing or two about supporting other women. It's touch and go, but if you're at all mature or emotionally intelligent, you should be able to look back at your all girls high school experience fondly enough to at least admit you learned a thing or two. Girls only education isn't always healthy or empowering, but mixed education also has its own set of unique challenges (I experienced both, so I can safely say that from I found them to be very different). Here are five things you learn from going to an all girls high school:
1. Hormones Are To Blame For A Lot Of Crap
God help the person who ever looks at a woman expressing herself and says, "Do you have your period or something?" I mean, she might have her period. But that doesn't devalue her emotions. One thing you definitely learn as a teenage girl is that sometimes your hormones will betray you, and being around so many other teenage girls can magnify those feelings. Even when you want to be stoic and calm, it's possible that rampant hormones can make you more teary or shouty than you would usually be. Being surrounded by girls going through the same hormonal crap, your over-emotive hormonal reactions to things become normalized, which is a good thing. You realize that while you might express yourself in grander ways when you're hormonal, those expressions are still legitimate.
2. You're Tougher Than You Think
Teenage girls can be vicious, so going to an all girls high school should give you at least one experience that rattles your backbone. Whether it's self-inflicted embarrassment, or being bullied, a room full of teenage girls will toughen you up in no time.
3. You're Also Meaner Than You Think
Nothing will break you like another girl being nasty to you, and boy, do some teenage girls know how to be nasty. It's a stereotype, and of course there are some teenage girls who are lovely — but when they're mean, it's frightening. The things girls say and do to each other in high school, the learned social language we develop from the media and society, is really something that we need to work on changing. I'll even admit, in high school I didn't think twice about calling a girl a slut behind her back. I knew it was wrong and I would get in trouble if adults found out, but I was never exactly and specifically educated in the ways that's reductive and sexist until I started reading university texts in my tertiary education.
4. Girls Can Be Disgusting Pigs
If you've ever been into the girls bathroom at an all girls high school, you know what I mean. If you have and have never seen a full turd on the middle of the floor or a bloody pad stuck to a cubicle wall, you're lying.
6. But There's Nothing Quite Like A Wonderful Female Friendship
For all the crap that goes down between girls in high school, there's also a lot of love. There's a lot of camaraderie, secret-keeping, back-having, hair-holding back, and standing up for one another that happens amidst all the gossip and backstabbing. High school is about learning — not just about school work, but about how we as individuals relate to other individuals. Hopefully you'll come out of your all girls high school experience inspired by the quieter moments when your sisters made you laugh, supported you through you trials, and celebrated your successes.