1. If you went to a single-sex school, you had an official uniform.
2. But if you went to a coed school, you still had a formal dress code.
3. Most of your class were “lifers,” which meant they had been there since kindergarten.
4. And they remembered every embarrassing thing you’d done since then.
A private schooler never forgets.
5. No one had a driver’s license.
6. But some people had drivers.
7. The food in your cafeteria was catered by only the best New York food services.
8. But you never ate there, because why eat a free salad when you could pay for one down the street?
9. Your sports fields were on Randall’s Island.
Getting to and from practice took double the time of the actual workout.
10. Diversity was much discussed.
11. But little seen.
12. Your school plays always had at least one kid who had been in an actual TV show or movie.
Or on Broadway.
13. You averaged four to five hours of sleep a night.
And frequently pulled all-nighters to finish your papers.
14. Although some people took a different route:
15. You started booking weekends three years in advance for the seventh-grade bar mitzvah rush.
And then went to at least one a weekend.
16. Which is why you still know the Aleinu by heart.
Even if you’re not Jewish.
17. And why you still have five pairs of sweatpants with your name spray-painted on the butt in your room at home.
And several wax hands.
18. Because each party was more elaborate than the last.
19. Compared to private school, your college courses were a breeze.
It took everyone else a year and a half to catch up.
20. Community Service Day was the first time many of your classmates went above 96th Street.
21. Or to another borough.
22. Or on the subway.
23. People had private tutors in every subject.
24. Extracurricular as well as academic.
25. Because to get into college, everyone had to be the president of at least three activities.
26. Which meant you had some pretty weird club options.
27. In middle school, “going out” meant drinking frappuccinos in Starbucks.
Manhattan kids don’t go to the mall.
28. While the cool kids got fondue at DTUT.
29. In high school, everyone got their fake IDs on St. Marks Place.
30. And then hung out near NYU and drank overpriced margaritas.
31. While the cool kids made it to the front of the line in the Meatpacking District
32. You had some insanely famous people come speak to you in assemblies.
33. Sadly, you had no idea who they were until years later.
34. You told everyone at college that your high school was nothing like Gossip Girl.
35. But that’s what you watched whenever you were homesick.
36. Your teachers were all liberal hippies with Ph.D.s who hated the Man.
37. Which made parent-teacher conferences awkward, because everyone’s parents were the Man.
38. Which you found out either through gossip,
39. Or from the papers.
40. Some people’s parents were just famous artists.
41. Your school had its own patented “educational philosophy.”
42. Which was infinitely superior to the educational philosophy of your rival schools.
43. Against whom you competed in an athletic consortium known as “The Ivy League.”
44. Whose name served to remind you that not going to a top college was not an option.
Forget not going to college, period.
45. At least one of your teachers published a tell-all book.
46. People started dieting for prom in January.
Even though everyone was rail-thin to begin with.
47. No one wore long gowns, because they were tacky and midwestern.
New Yorkers wear black.
48. Everyone spent their summers either building houses in Costa Rica for their college essay,
49. Or in the Hamptons.
50. You were jealous of the kids at the campus schools because of their frequent snow days.
51. Since you only got them when the public schools did.
52. Which was awkward, because you had an inferiority complex about Stuyvesant.
You could’ve gotten in if you’d tried.
53. But love it or hate it, you know that you got the education of a lifetime.
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