Official Third Person Stuff
Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of critically acclaimed young adult novels Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah, and Bittersweet. Her books have been translated into several languages and have received numerous accolades, including ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Girls’ Life Top 100 Must Reads, IndieNext list picks, and more. Her short fiction and essays will be featured in two upcoming young adult anthologies: Defy the Dark and Dear Teen Me.
Sarah teaches advanced young adult fiction writing at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver. She’s a champion cupcake eater, coffee drinker, night person, and bookworm. When she’s not writing or reading, Sarah enjoys taking pictures, hugging trees, and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex.
I Survived High School & All I Got Was…
Here’s what I remember most about my 4-year sentence otherwise known as high school. This list will probably tell you more about why I write YA fiction than anything else!
- I ditched senior prom to go to the Grateful Dead show instead. (That, and I didn’t have a date.) For some reason this bothers people, but it’s been many years and I haven’t lost any sleep over it.
- For two months I ate nothing but oranges. I lost three pounds and didn’t get one single cold. Then I switched to M&Ms and Diet Cokes. That one didn’t work out so well.
- Our school mascot was the Quaker, but the students were anything but. Especially the cheerleaders, who wore tight maroon and white minis and did a lot of gyrating dances to “Pump up the Jam” and “Push It” before all the sporting events.
- We didn’t have texting back then. We hand-wrote notes in multiple colors and folded them into fancy shapes like stars and airplanes.
- Freshman year I was totally in love with this guy Jeff and made the mistake of putting it in writing in a fancy-shaped note. Bad idea.
- When I couldn’t find something decent to wear to school, I just went in my PJs and socks. The teachers never said anything about it. They probably thought I was completely mental which, for the most part, I was.
- When I was sixteen, I got a job as a grocery cashier. Our manager would time how long it took us to complete each order. It sucked. My mom worked there, too, so she usually picked up my shifts. That might explain why I never had any money for aforementioned decent clothes.
- My first car was a 1985 Toyota Celica GT with 130,000 miles on it. I saved up to buy it when I was seventeen. Sadly, I kept getting grounded and wasn’t allowed to get my driver’s license until I was nineteen, after I’d gone away to college.
- The bus, which I was forced to ride on account of my lack of a driver’s license, arrived at 6:45 AM. It took me a minimum of 2 hours to do my hair each morning, which is why I woke up at 4:30 and the kind-hearted bus driver ended up waiting outside my house for 15 minutes every day. On days when I stayed home sick, Mom would flash the porch light on and off (because it was still dark when the bus arrived) to let the driver know not to wait.
- My favorite music for my Sony walkman was rap. I still get a little misty-eyed whenever I hear Black Sheep or Naughty By Nature.
- I got As in calculus, physics and English lit, but I failed gym. Senior year I owed so many make-up classes that I had gym twice a day. A few weeks into that arrangement I hurt my knee and got excused from all of it. I still have nightmares about the principal tracking me down to tell me that I never actually graduated because I owe so many gym make-ups.
- I carried my journal everywhere and wrote volumes of sad and terrible poems and stories while pretending to take notes in class. Those poems must never resurface.
“Oh, the memories” is right. There were some good times. There were some awful times. There were tons more in-between times, sitting around and waiting for something to happen. But then I graduated, and everything worked out just fine.
So, whether the “best days of your life” are far behind you or you’re still making your way through them, what are some of your memories about the good, the awful, and the in-between times of high school?