To read Pt. 2: Inside MPS Pt. 2: Being a Golden Knight
The title of this piece of Inside MPS is The Upside Down, which is a reference to the new television show, Stranger Things, which is featured on Netflix. I don’t want to say too much about it, except for the fact that the Upside Down, in the show, was an alternate, parallel, and darker universe/reality (sorry if that was a spoiler for anybody). I think this title is appropriate to describe the reality that is experienced by the majority of teenagers that do not attend private college preparatory schools.
A lot of descriptions provided in the previous parts of Inside MPS are about the luxury that is lived at MPS. I don’t think the core problem is the luxury as much as the problem is that most teenagers attend a very different kind of high school. Most high schools do not provide the classes, extracurricular activities or social connections that private college prep schools offer. The Upside Down of high school education in the U.S. is that most high schools deal with significant financial, social and logistical difficulties that stunt the potential growth of the students.
An example of “the Upside Down” of high schools in the U.S. is extracurricular activities. At MPS, there were tons of extracurricular activities offered. Furthermore, students were required to participate in these extracurriculars. Providing and requiring students to participate in these activities allowed the students to have a stacked college resume. The Upside Down of U.S. high school extracurriculars is that there are a limited number of activities offered. Many times, these activities are limited because the school is given a small amount of money to allocate to extracurriculars. Having a limited amount of extracurriculars is problematic for two reasons. First, the students aren’t able to pursue opportunities that they might end up being very passionate about. As a result, they might have a more challenging time contemplating about what they want to do for their future. The second problem regarding a limited amount of extracurricular activities is that students will have less items to list on their college resume. Many times, these students have a disadvantage to those students who have a more “impressive” resume (which mostly prep school kids because they are required to do extraccuriculars).
Extracurricular activities is just one example of many other establishments in a U.S. high school that experience “The Upside Down.” Other examples include having not as many liberal arts classes, the formation of gangs among the students, having to take the bus to school because they can’t afford a car, eating subsidized lunches, not being able to go on trips around the world, not having tutoring for standardized tests (SAT and ACT), the teachers not being as available to tutor the students and many more. Some of these examples that I provided stunt the growth of the students. Others of these examples are descriptions of a less luxurious life non prep school kids have in comparison to prep school kids.
Most high school students do not live the concerted cultivated lifestyle that most prep school kids experience. They do not receive the education or social connections that would allow them to attend a prestigious college, which would then enable them to have a job that provides them with a lot of money and the opportunity to rule other individuals. In fact, most high school students develop through natural growth. This means that they have to figure a lot of these matters out on their own. Even though these students might work extremely hard while living the “natural growth” lifestyle, they still wouldn’t be able live the life that an individual from a higher class life lives. The way in which our society is structured only allows these individuals minimal social mobility (especially if they are of a minority identity).
Considering all that I have said in this piece, I don’t think that every student who doesn’t attend prep school has a negative high school experience and ends up living a depressing life. Many students are able to make the best out of what they’re given. I also think that many individuals who come from lower middle class to lower class backgrounds are able to have extreme joyful moments in their life, even though they don’t possess a lot of money. What I am trying to do in this piece is highlight “The Upside Down.” There are some prep schools students who normalize their privilege and think that they’re high school experience is not much different than other high school experiences. The purpose of highlighting “The Upside Down” is to show that the myth of their privilege being normal is false.
To read Pt. 4: Inside MPS Pt. 4: Afterthoughts