I think I didn't really have much focus; I was involved in so much at the outset, that I can almost define my experience by what was eliminated. When I started high school, I was taking classes in art, drama, band (clarinet), chorus, and piano, and also training in soccer, swim team, dance, and cycling. To her credit, my mom drove us around to all that! I can't imagine driving a child (actually two) to all those activities! My sister had just as much going on—we are close in age, so our parents normally just lumped us together in the same age group for sports.
The first things to go away were the sports. I didn't continue competitively with high school swimming and soccer teams, although I did get my lifeguard certificate and worked at a YMCA for a while as a guard and an aquatics instructor (and yes, with that hair). I did one parade in the marching band and decided that wasn't for me. I'd been in private acting courses throughout middle school, but only performed in one play in high school; I didn't stand out and abandoned it after a few auditions didn't land me any further parts.
What was left? Chorus? I was an alto and not that vocally talented. Piano lessons, which I dropped at age 16, when all the practicing (two hours a day) was hard to maintain with a heavy load of homework and remaining activities, mainly the dancing, clubbing, music, boys, friends, art, and bicycling. I loved, LOVED the dancing! I took jazz dancing lessons at a local ballet studio and was very responsible about making all of my classes; I even went all through the summer sessions. I rode my bicycle to class and adored the instructor, Mrs. Lang. Somehow, all the quitting and abandoning stuff backfired here, though. I chose to continue with dancing, but my parents pulled me out of it, because they thought I wasn't going to the classes.
I filled the gap by going dancing at nightclubs, focusing more on listening to music (industrial/punk/goth/club), buying albums, and going to shows in Chicago. The art part was easy! I expended little effort in classes and whatever I did, the teacher gave me an A. Sometimes I got triple or quadruple As, which was pretty ridiculous—hard to take seriously. I won a couple of competitions with my artwork and participated in art shows. The portfolio I developed really opened doors for college admissions! (BTW, this bizarre tree painting did NOT go in my portfolio, but was fun for display in public.)
Outside of the classwork, my most memorable high school moments were dancing at clubs with boys, wandering around Chicago with boys and friends (I was kinda boy-obsessed and dated a lot), and cycling trips with my family. We went bicycling almost every weekend! We travelled (by car) to go on week-long cycling tours in Vermont, Wisconsin, southern Illinois, Indiana. I
didn't have a car (though plenty of kids did), so bicycling got me where I needed to go.
What did I stick with? If you read my blog, you already know. My apologies for such a rambling post, but it's getting close to the midnight hour here & I've gotta get something up!