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Confessions From an All-Girls High School Grad

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Scranton chapter.

“So, when you got to college, did you not know how to talk to guys?”

“No football team????”

“There must have been so much drama.”

“So basically you were in a high school sorority.”

These are only a few excerpts from the laundry list of comments and questions I typically receive when I first tell someone I went to an all-girls high school. There’s a perceived weirdness to single-gender education, at the high school and college levels, that I never really understood; the experience is definitely different from a co-ed educational experience, but I never felt weird at a school with no boys. I didn’t find myself in World History thinking, “man, I wish there were guys in here.”

Confession 1

Contrary to popular belief, attending an all-girls high school is not boy-repellent, nor does it impact your ability to interact with guys. To speak from personal experience, I never felt as if I was being “deprived” of being around boys; my theater program pulled boys from neighboring high schools to be in our productions, we were encouraged to bring dates to semi-formal dances/proms from other schools. Sure, you lack male friends in an educational setting, and you won’t be meeting your future boyfriend in AP Biology, but I never saw this as a serious hindrance to a well-balanced social life. There’s just that, granted, extra, step of developing co-ed friendships outside of school hours.

Confession 2

My high school in particular was STEM-oriented, meaning I had no choice but to take four years of engineering classes (which integrated woodworking, computer science, metalwork, robotics, automation, etc.) in addition to three years of math, science, and the humanities. It’s normal for girls who graduate from my high school to declare majors in chemical engineering, computer science, biochemistry, applied mathematics, civil engineering, physics, bioengineering, human-centered engineering, biology, biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, etc. Inside and outside of the classroom, STEM fields are typically male-dominated; there are tons of stories on the Internet about female engineers, mathematicians, and scientists struggling to be taken seriously in academic and/or professional settings by their male peers. At my all-girls high school, this was not something we had to worry about; there were no “women aren’t funny” misogynists in our midst. I was surrounded by girls who, like me, were humanities-centered and out of their element, as well as girls who were scientifically brilliant and completed STEM projects with ease. No matter your skill level, everyone supported one another and wanted to see

their peers succeed. There was this unspoken understanding that we were “all in this together” as young women in STEM, and this implicit support system is, admittedly, something I miss.

Confession 3

Not having football games does not equal not having fun. As an educational environment, my high school was particularly academically centered (no regular classes, only honors and AP), but it also put on a ton of fun extracurricular events for us. We had your standard semi-formals and proms, but we also had Thanksgiving flag football, various Christmas traditions (every year on the day before Christmas break, all the students at the school gathered in a common area to sing Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You;” we also had a grade-wide Secret Santa), “Boy Day” (the sophomores all dress up as boys as a school prank every year), father-daughter cornhole/TopGolf tournaments, “Love Week” (various activities surrounding self-love the week of Valentine’s Day), etc. We had an “Advisory” made up of girls from all different grade levels that hosted its own set of “brain break” activities; our Cultural Club often handed out free food and the Cinema Club frequently had a movie playing somewhere in the school. I loved being in the Improv Club, where you and a partner got up in front of an audience and improvised a scene for 5-8 minutes; there was seldom a meeting where I left without my stomach in knots from laughing so much. All of this to say: we had a lot of fun.

Confession 4

The drama was the same as your co-ed high school. That’s it.

Confession 5

I wouldn’t call my high school a “sorority,” nor would I call it a “sisterhood,” another commonly (mockingly) referenced label. Rather, we were young women who wanted to push ourselves academically and have a rock-solid support system for doing so. All-girls education provided that. The perpetuation of the “sorority” stereotype for young girls attending all-girls high schools is, plain and simple, ignorant, and indicative of one’s doubt that high school-aged women can be, intellectually and socially, more than drama and boys. I’d rather someone say that to me than hide behind the “sorority” comment.

My all-girls high school shaped me into who I am today; the girls and faculty within its walls taught me not only how to think critically and function effectively as a student, but also how to know my worth in a classroom, lead with empathy and confidence, and lift others up with you. I am forever indebted to my time in all-girls education and would recommend it in a heartbeat.

Hi! I'm Faith and I'm an English major with Writing and Philosophy minors at the University of Scranton! I absolutely love writing, reading, and listening to music, along with theater, black tea lemonade, and "When Harry Met Sally" ◡̈