Think Fast(ing)

, , , , , , | | Learning | August 1, 2019

(This conversation happens in my grade three class.)

Classmate #1: “Hey, [Classmate #2], you want some apples?”

Classmate #2: “I can’t eat; I’m fasting.”

(The entire class stares at her as she explains her culture, flustered. Most of the kids in my class are Asian.)

Classmate #3: *to [Classmate #4], whispering* “That’s stupid! People are supposed to eat when they’re hungry.”

([Classmate #2] hears and is now looking flustered and staring down at the table, so I decide to attempt to defuse the tension.) 

Me: “[Classmate #2], how long has it been since you used the bathroom?”

(I think I made things worse.)

In Sore Need Of A Real Diagnosis

, , , , | | Healthy | June 12, 2019

(I am in middle school and have been home sick for the past couple days with a bad sore throat and high fever. On the third day, my throat is still so sore I can’t speak or swallow anything and I am still exhausted, so at breakfast, I try to tell my grandparents, whom I live with, that I don’t think I can go to school. This does not go over well. Note, my grandfather is a licensed family physician and has successfully run his own practice for the past forty years.)

Grandfather: “Your glands aren’t swollen and you don’t feel that warm. It’s normal for a sore throat to linger. You’ve missed enough school; you can’t miss anymore. You’ll be fine.”

(My grandmother defers to his “diagnosis” and drives me to school, even though I haven’t eaten anything because swallowing is agony. I get there early and hang out in the school entryway waiting for the homeroom bell. I am just miserable. I’m achy and exhausted, and my throat hurts so much it’s making me cry. The school nurse walks by and notices the tears.)

Nurse: “[My Name], what’s wrong?”

(I try to tell her my throat hurts, but nothing comes out. She ushers me into her office.)

Nurse: “Well, let’s start with taking a temperature, okay? Just hold on a minute.”

(She puts the thermometer in my ear and waits for it to beep. After she reads it, there’s a beat of silence.)

Nurse: “Wow. [My Name], you can’t be here. I’m going to have to call your parents.”

(It turned out I had a 103-degree fever. Less than ten minutes after she dropped me off, my grandmother got a phone call from the nurse to come and pick me up. I didn’t even make it to homeroom. So much for not feeling “that warm”! Thankfully, my grandfather has a sense of humor, because I have never let him live that one down.)

Perfect Attendance, But God, At What Cost?

, , , , , | | Learning | June 11, 2019

I grew up with a girl who was a bit shy but extremely smart and talented. Unfortunately, her parents were super strict about her always being the “best” in school, participating in a million extracurricular activities, etc. It really wore her down, and by the time we reached middle school in the late 1990s, she was exhausted. They were especially proud of all of the awards she won at the end of year assembly. You know, perfect attendance, the President’s physical fitness test, etc.

One weekend, towards the end of our eighth-grade year, she called to tell me she wasn’t feeling well and asked if I could gather any homework assignments for her on Monday if she didn’t make it to school. Not a problem, I said, and personally, I thought she could use the break.

Monday morning rolled around and here came [Girl] trudging into class and looking the sickest I’d ever seen her. I asked why she’d come to school, and it turned out her parents didn’t want her to “ruin” her perfect attendance record. They wanted her to have a certificate for every year of school, like that was something colleges were going to be looking for. Even the teachers were concerned. But [Girl] insisted on staying until they made her go home at lunchtime and promised her “record” would still show she was at school that day.

I didn’t think anything else about it until a couple of days later when I woke up feeling pretty horrible myself. I had a high fever, and my mom immediately called me out of school and took me to the doctor’s office. Turns out, I had mononucleosis. Yep, [Girl] had come to school with a raging case of mono. When we got home, my mom put me to bed and started calling other parents, and the list of sick kids kept getting longer.

And that’s how nearly half the eighth grade class at my school all caught mono at the same time. And it was all because this poor girl’s parents didn’t want her to lose her perfect attendance record.

High On Jesus

, , , | | Learning | May 29, 2019

(I live in an area where the dominant religion is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly abbreviated LDS. In middle school, the teacher of the health class I am in is preparing us to ask intelligent questions to a police officer who is coming to talk to us about drugs. He tells us about a poorly-worded question that another student asked.)

Student: “Do we have any LDS around here?”

Teacher: *internal face-palm*

Snapchat Brat

, , , , , | | Learning | May 23, 2019

(It’s right after PE and I’m getting changed. In our school, there is a rule that we cannot have our phones out in the locker room. Many people, often time the girls who do our Strength and Conditioning class, don’t follow this rule. Normally, it’s not a problem because they’re just checking the time, but this takes the cake. I notice that a girl has her phone out and that I don’t have a shirt on.)

Me: “Hey, [Girl], can you put away your phone?”

(She glares and turns on her phone to show that the Snapchat camera is on.)

Me: “Please put away your phone! It’s the rule!”

Girl: “Why? It’s not like it’s harming you.”

Me: “Please! Your Snapchat camera is on, and I’m not wearing a shirt! Now follow the rule and please put away your phone!”

Girl’s Friend: “Just because it’s bothering you it doesn’t mean she has to.”

(I have a bit of a phobia of people taking pictures of me without permission, and it doesn’t help that [Girl’s Friend] has her phone like she’s taking a photo.)

Me: *yelling* “PUT AWAY YOUR PHONE! PEOPLE IN HERE ARE CHANGING! I DON’T HAVE A SHIRT ON AND YOUR PHONE, [GIRL], HAD THE SNAPCHAT CAMERA OPEN!”

(Both girls put away their phones and left, giving me a disgusted sneer. I forgot about this until I was pulled out in both third and eighth periods, in which I had to see my counselor and the assistant principal. They ended up going through the girls’ phones, but didn’t find any problematic photos. The phones were then taken away. I also filled out a form which gave my description of what happened. I hope they get punished by their parents!)

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