One girl to fifty boys was the ratio of boys to girls at the school I decided to pursue my sixth form education. At the beginning of summer 2015, my family and I made the decision to apply to a predominantly male school in Western Jamaica to get a place in its sixth form program. Please note that I was just graduating from the best all-female high school in Western Jamaica and so I was in no way prepared for the experience I was about to have.
I got accepted of course and began school in September.
September rolled in and school began and so did two years that would be filled with laughter, tears, unforgettable memories and lasting friendships. There were twelve (12) girls and fifty-one (51) boys in my Grade.12 class and 12 girls in Grade 13 with approximately the same amount of boys.
24 girls to 1200 boys, 1 girl to 50 boys.
On our way to general devotion morning, we were surely overwhelmed at the number of boys we passed.
The boys we passed that morning were very polite.
“Good morning Miss.”, they said before they politely went on their way.
“Oh they are so polite”, we had thought foolishly that Monday morning, we really did not know what was about to come.
Devotion was conducted, we were warmly welcomed and then we were dismissed for classes. Students were grouped according to classes. The first subjects that Monday morning were Accounting and Chemistry. The other ladies headed in the direction of the Chemistry Lab and my friend and I went to the class where Accounting was to be taught. I walked in first with my pseudo-confidence and a very haughty look on my face -trust me I know how I look when I try to act tough. My friend followed behind and a few guys sitting in the back burst out laughing when she stepped in. Later on my friend told me that at that moment she felt like crying but she kept a straight face and took a seat. She thought that they had been laughing at her but when she confronted them later on asking why they had been laughing, their response was that she had walked in at the wrong time aka, they had not been laughing at her. *rolls eyes* Oh Please!!!
Classes came and went and soon it was time for lunch. You thought the morning was overwhelming, let me tell you, at lunch I almost had a panic attack. Before us girls walked into the canteen I can remember us standing in a huddle staring at each other with a ‘What the heck have we gotten ourselves into!’ expression on our faces. The canteen was filled with guys taller and wider than us all shoving to place their orders. It was literally like walking foolishly into the lion’s den. I am small, barely five feet with little body mass so just imagine how mi look when mi see some big, burly guys with beards and some very deep voices that rumbled when they spoke. I remember trying to take a breath in order to calm my racing heart. But thanks be to God, my prince rode in on his white steed.
“Shorty,” (internally rolled eyes) but I turned to smile at him, “would you like me to buy your lunch?”
I could have jumped for joy at that moment but I demurely said yes, we hurriedly gave him all our monies and stressed him with all our orders. This routine went on for the rest of the week, with the few girls sticking together and the boys whispering behind their hands each time we passed.
Hmmm, what do you think they were talking about?
The second week came things pretty much changed, some for the better, some for the worse. We became familiar with the boys with whom we shared classes with and so each class session was filled with laughter and learning. Coming from a school where the lines between teacher and student were clearly set and the classroom atmosphere was a bit somber, I was shocked by the relaxed relationship that existed between teacher and student. My mouth hit the ground the first time I heard one of the boys address a teacher by her first name, (not in her hearing of course) and then I shared a look with the girls who were around me. You know that look that says “did you hear what I think I just heard from that young man a while ago?” Eventually, we got use to it and the class sessions went by much faster as we were having so much fun.
How did things change for the worse?
After the boys saw that we were not so ‘uptight’ and ‘stuck-up’, offers began to flood in from all age, size and grade. I remember one boy asking me to send him the notes we had gotten in class in a bid to get my number, yeah boo, I saw through you.
During the first two months, some of the girls’ derrieres were described in a number of ways and I became knowledgeable of the different positions my body could be contorted in. To my consternation, I was also christened with a nickname that I will not share here, a nickname that I take half of the blame for.
The younger set of boys was something else though. I remember this one guy who swore that he was going to win my heart. Every lunchtime, he would offer to buy my lunch using his own money…SMH…They asked some of the weirdest questions and boy did they get an ego boost from being taller than me.
Teacher Student Relationship
The teachers for the most were very good. What they lacked in teaching skills, they made up for with their personality. The boys of course complained that we got away with a lot of things they could not get away it. I must say there is no truth to this statement. I for one developed relationships with a number of the teachers, something I had not done at my previous school. They encouraged us to participate in the number of clubs that were at the school and made sure a good relationship was maintained between the girls and the boys.
Clubs & School Activities
My friend, one of the females, repeatedly says that her two years at this institution were her best high school years. She forged strong relationships with her classmates and actively participated in a number of activities. Even though we were girls at a predominantly male school, we still got the chance to represent the school in competitions and occupied position on the executive boards of a number of the clubs.
While there were a few bad moments, the good times definitely made up for it.
The other girls and I underwent a huge transformation. We went from running around, stressing over school work to rolling die after school under the pavilion. We went from sitting idly by while everyone else enjoyed themselves to doing the puppytail (or our version of puppytail) in front of students and teachers alike. I cannot finish without mentioning football season. Even though some of us like myself did not have a clue about what was going on a football field other than some guys chasing a ball, us girls were at almost every game, cheering them on as loudly as we could. Call us football groupies, we don’t care. We enjoyed ourselves and that is what was important.
Now that I am almost finished, I must say I will be forever grateful of the time I spent at this institution. We the females got a chance to experience what the real world is like without actually being in it. Although women have made strides, we know that we are still living in a patriarchal society, so at this moment I am happy to say I was able to hold my own in a man’s world.
- I have learned how to relax (trust me, this was something I needed to learn).
- I have run with the pack and I am proud to say I maintained a place at the front of the pack.
- Many of the stereotypes that society has placed in our minds about boys were obliterated. We are cognizant of the fact that there are brilliant females (according to society’s measure of brilliance), some not so brilliant, some ladylike and some who just do not care what people want to think and enjoy their life but society has classed all males in the worthless, having no future category. Thanks to this school, I have met some of the most brilliant and charismatic males I will ever have the good fortune of meeting and I have learnt that like females, there are different types of males.
- I feel like these guys have told me everything that is there to know so when I go out there and hear anything else, mi body nah go ketch a fire.
- These two years served as period of development for me. I crawled out of my shell, I participated in a number of activities and a group of boys whom I admire was always there to support and motivate me to be me.
Thank you very much. These two years I will forever treasure.