The convo went something like this:
Liz: I’m drinking Mountain Dew.
Me: Must not care about your sperm count.
Me: Mountain Dew supposedly lowers a dude’s sperm count. At least that’s what they told me in middle school.
Liz: Middle school was the best.
Me: Middle school sucked. High school and elementary school were better.
And with that, a blog post was born. Here’s grades Kindergarten through 16 ranked, from worst to first. And yes I know that calling your senior year of college “16th grade” may tilt some of you, but fuck it.
(While writing this I realized that a lot of my stuff is bro-specific, so I enlisted the help of the creator of Mid-Day Margarita for a more female-friendly take on some of these.)
17. 7th Grade
Jimmy: Does it get any more insignificant than 7th grade? The novelty of the I’m-not-an-elementary-schooler-anymore feeling has completely worn off and you still get shit on by 8th graders. You’ve gotta take weird classes like Home Ec and Tech Ed that couldn’t be less relevant for a 12 to 13 year-old. Give me one scenario at any point in my life where I’ll need to know how to build a bridge out of toothpicks.
To top it off, you’re at the height of your adolescent awkward phase where your voice ranges from Tweety Bird sucking in helium to Barry White doing a Shaft impression, and your face looks like the Before picture in a Proactiv commercial.
16. 11th Grade
Jimmy: SAT’s. Driver’s tests. College applications. Getting recruited for sports. RESPONSIBILITY. If I had $1 for every time an authority figure told me “Your junior year of high school is the most important year of your life!”, I would have blown it on scratch offs the day I turned 18, but you get the point. Seriously, just let me ride around town smoking weed and listening to Jadakiss in my brother’s hand-me-down Honda Civic and leave me the fuck alone. Also, lol at Junior Prom, Senior Prom’s ugly cousin.
15. 3rd Grade
Jimmy: Man, I’m so nervous. I mean, 1st and 2nd grade were easy. But Social Studies? Division? This is gonna be tough.
14. 14th Grade (Sophomore Year of College)
Jimmy: Fuck, you mean I actually came to this school for a reason other than drinking 30 beers a night at house parties and hooking up with sloppy chicks looking to get threesomes “out of their system?” Better start doing some extracurriculars and internships to make up for the 2.4 GPA I racked up my freshman year if I want to squeeze a job out of this $80K education. Oh, and an AIDS test, better get one of those too.
Marg: Sophomore year of college is kind of a dud. You’re back from your 3-month summer vacation and not excited to continue year two of pre-rec classes. Also, that “freshman 15” thing was true and none of your clothes fit anymore.
13. 4th Grade
Jimmy: 4th grade is the 7th grade of elementary school. You’ve only got two more years left at the school and you’ve got some peons below you, but you’re still not the king of the school so you don’t matter. Your mom kinda dresses you still but you have just enough freedom to wear your Penny Hardaway jersey twice a week should you choose. 4th grade is also the solar system grade. My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas. Although I don’t think Pluto is a planet anymore so kids today get served “Nothing.”
Marg: In 4th grade I discovered MTV. Titanic broke down barriers by forcing many children to watch a sex scene on the big screen next to their mother, and it started many a girl’s Leo obsession. The school band is also a thing—shockingly my flute rendition of “Hot Cross Buns” hasn’t gotten me far in life.
12. 15th Grade (Junior Year of College)
Jimmy: Your junior year of college is the same as your junior year of high school in that it’s your “buckle-down” year, but it’s four spots higher because this is the year that most college students turn 21. No more fake ID’s from the hometown guy who kinda looks like you but only because he’s the same race. No more finding out what color marker the bar is using so you can mark your own hand and sneak in the bar. Officially legal bitches, here’s an actual picture of me with my real birthday and eye color. Now let me in so I can spend the “book money” my mom gave me on tequila shots for my hot Econ TA.
11. 10th Grade
Jimmy: By now you’ve established what clique you’ll be running with for the rest of high school. If you’re a decent athlete, chances are you’ll see action in your first varsity game, making it 3 times more likely that you lose your virginity before the school year is over. Your sophomore year social experience largely hinges upon whether or not you’ve got one of those year-early-birthday kids in your crew who gets his license a year before everyone else and can chauffer you and your jackass buddies around to all the upperclassmen parties. This is the last year you go to the Homecoming Dance and the year you discover cunnilingus.
10. 6th Grade
Jimmy: 6th grade is a year full of extreme highs and extreme lows. On the plus side, you merge schools with all the other elementary schools in town so your friends that you used to only see during the summer are now in your classes. School lunch gets a lot more exciting because now there’s a snack bar in the cafeteria and you can get Skittles every day for lunch. And last but certainly not least, makeout city, population you, bro. 6th grade is the year you lock up your first girlfriend and suck face anywhere and everywhere. If you aren’t slow dancing with your crush to “God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You” with your hands on her ass and making out at the school dance, you’re doing it wrong.
On the downside, going from king of the school in 5th grade to insignificant nothing three months later is probably the most brutal school transition there is, especially when you consider how big of assholes 11-14 year-olds are. Add to that the fact that middle school teachers give out more homework than I had in four years of college combined, and it’s not all just Twix and tonsil hockey.
Marg: Sixth grade is a right of passage: middle school. This is when it gets real. Bras, boyfriends, Limp Bizkit, wearing a two-piece on field day, and of course, Britney Spears.
9. 1st Grade
Jimmy: I mean, you’re fucking six years old, life is good. It’s your second year in school but nobody is expecting you to grow up yet or show any sort of maturity whatsoever for that matter. Addition and subtraction are easy as fuck so your report card is perfect and your parents buy you presents for your good grades. I used to get baseball cards but I’m assuming kids nowadays get hovercrafts and shit. There’s no pressure to impress female classmates because they’re all gross poopyheads who have cooties.
8. 9th Grade
Jimmy: Ah, high school. Where a boy becomes a man, a girl becomes a woman, and your possibly gay 8th Grade classmate is now Definitely Gay Gary. Freshman year is tough when it comes to hooking up with all of the sluttier freshman chicks blowing upperclassmen because… cars, so the odds are certainly not in your favor. You’ve offically become too cool to do anything in gym class because you’re worried about sweating. Also, signing up for five honors classes seemed like a great idea when you were a little overachieving middle schooler, but halfway through your 15-page book report on To Kill A Mockingbird you realize that it was really fucking stupid. It’s not all bad though, you usually get drunk and try weed for the first time in the movie theater parking lot.
Marg: Freshman year, first day of high school: Adidas sneakers, jean skirt, baby tee, brand new Jansport. This is what the kids wear right? This is a crucial year for making friends, so you need to choose the right clubs and sports teams to join. In my case that meant none of the above. I don’t DO teams. But I made friends anyway and decided public school (was a private school kid all my life) was awesome. They allow makeup and you can sit in the same cafeteria as the boys.
7. 2nd Grade
Jimmy: Four words: Number Crunchers, Oregon Trail. 2nd grade is the first time they introduce you to computers and you’re still young enough where they incorporate games into your “learning”. I used to spend hours in the computer lab eating even numbers, shooting buffalo and fording rivers. You also learn some valuable life skills, like how to make paper airplanes and rubber band guns so you can torture substitute teachers.
Jimmy: Now we’re getting into straight party territory. Kindergarten was essentially daycare with like a half hour of school thrown in each day. It’s where you make your first friends, where you learn how to share, and where you discover that dipping an apple in peanut butter is the single greatest faux-healthy snack in existence. It’s like heaven, except instead of every girl you ever wanted to bang and unlimited golf courses with no waiting times, it consists of fruit snacks, Connect Four, and jumping as far as you can off of a swing into a pile of wood chips.
Also, is there an overall nicer, more patient group of people in the world than kindergarten teachers? You show me a kindergarten teacher and I’ll show you an awesome mother, wife, and lover.
5. 13th Grade (Freshman Year of College)
Jimmy: Where’d you say you were from? Harrisburg, PA? Sweet, let’s fuck. No seriously, that’s freshman year of college. 49% of your time is spent figuring out a way to get booze and 49% is spent trying to get laid, leaving 2% leftover for class, a campus job, eating, showering, and breathing. Dorm room draw is so crucial though. You can get stuck on a floor of World of Warcraft dudes and go into your sophomore year with no friends, or luck your way into four neighbors from the women’s soccer team and essentially sign a handjob contract with a 6 or higher.
4. 8th Grade
Jimmy: This is our first “king of the school” grade on the countdown, as you’ll notice a trend with the next few selections. Given that middle school is the worst of the four levels of school you’ll go to, 8th grade gets the lowest ranking of the king grades. That being said, fingering a girl for the first time in the back of the bus on the class trip to Washington, DC is one of the crowning moments of any man’s adolescence. Plus, if you say you weren’t terrified of going to high school the following year you’re a fucking liar.
3. 16th Grade (Senior Year of College)
Jimmy: Remember when I said the biggest comedown was going from 5th to 6th grade? I think I’m changing my answer to the drop off between partying literally every single day for an entire spring to sitting in the spare room of your parents’ house updating your Linkedin after six hours of mowing lawns that morning. Everyone you know who graduated the year before tells you how much it’s gonna suck. Your parents tell you how much it’s gonna suck. So how do you prepare yourself? By living your senior year of college like it’s the last year of your life, because in many ways it is. Blow off class. Go to Panama City for Spring Break. Play polish horseshoes on the lawn of the Campus Center because who gives a fuck anymore? Senior year of college is 25th Hour with Edward Norton. And it should be treated like Project X.
2. 5th Grade
Jimmy: The first year of your life where you actually feel cool. You’ve got hundreds of kids in the school younger than you just dying to be pegged with hard red rubber balls at recess. You go on your first sleep-away field trip, probably to Nature’s Classroom, where you learn about Truth or Dare and that girls aren’t all that disgusting. Capture the flag. Freeze tag. Tug of war. It’s simply the last grade where nothing but being a kid matters.
Marg: Fifth grade was all about periods. Gross, I know. But once you watch that video, it’s all you can think of. Also mom wouldn’t let me shave my legs so I spent my afternoons trying to MacGyver hair off my legs with duct tape and tweezers (unsuccessful). Everyone starts getting nasty orthodontic work, and boobs start happening. In Catholic school this meant graduating from the jumper to a skirt and a disgusting vest that would have gotten me kicked out of the Plastics’ lunch table. Fifth grade sucked.
Jimmy: (Um yeah, 5th Grade sounds awesome for girls.)
1. 12th Grade
Jimmy: You followed everyone in the world’s advice and treated your junior year of high school seriously, leaving you with a 3.4 GPA, an acceptance letter to a perfectly decent state school, and an extreme hangover from “pushing yourself” the year before. Nothing matters anymore. Nowhere is there a grade so meaningless to your academic development and yet so meaningful to your social standing. A year so mailed in that not even your teachers give a fuck. A grade so unlike any school year that there’s a disease dedicated to how few fucks you give. You get to hook up with chicks just because you’re old enough to drive. You get to leave school at 12:20 every day because administrators knew you gave up before 10:00 anyway. Senior skip day. Senior pranks. Watching movies in class. Prom. I’d give almost anything to be a high school senior again.
Now reread that paragraph with Green Day’s “Good Riddance” playing in the background and revisit a happier time in your life.
(And after you graduate college, here’s what you’ve got to look forward to.)