1. You secretly enjoyed filling out Delaney cards at the beginning of each year/semester because it meant 15 minutes of not having to do actual work.
2. NYPD vans/cars parked outside your school were an everyday occurrence.
3. The days of your youth are filled with memories of stair cages and bars over the windows.
In fact, the entire building was pretty decrepit. I'm talking to you, great asbestos scare of the mid-'90s.
4. A class of 40 kids was the standard.
5. You developed a unique sense of slang.
6. There was a window-pole monitor.
7. Your school "playground" was a tiny slab of concrete.
8. School lunch choices were a motley assortment of meals you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.
(And you always snuck an extra butter crunch cookie.)
9. Your high school had a nursery.
Because teen pregnancy is a thing.
10. Creepy old desks were the bane of your existence.
11. And there were never enough lefty desks.
12. You either totally looked forward to (nerd!) or totally dreaded (underachiever!) the annual storytelling contest.
13. There were zero communal art supplies.
15. You had the best school trips a kid could ask for.
16. Your student MetroCard had more value than gold.
17. Applying for high schools consumed 90% of your life circa age 13.
...which also included studying for specialized tests (shout-out to Stuy!) and the TACHS test for Catholic high schools.
18. The word "Regents" overwhelms you with an inescapable sense of terror.
19. Your days started and ended with a metal detector.
And the threat of actual gang activity was a real thing, so watch it with the bandanas. (Unless you went to a super-geeky school that everyone made fun of. What up, Townsend Harris.)