Sarah - LaPorte, Indiana
Entered on May 2, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that catholic school has ruined my life. I have been a catholic all my life. Baptized Sarah Jane Kobos when I was one year old, I never even got a chance to choose my religious beliefs. When I started kindergarten it was in a good and proper catholic school, St. Joseph. It was the most expensive one, but it was the best one in the county. When I was in kindergarten there were 32 children in my class. By the time I graduated from the 8th grade only 10 students remained. This should have been a warning signal to someone, teachers, parents, the priest, that something was not right with this class.

After high school I had a choice. I could continue on with my religious education at a boarding school, a religious high school in the next city, or the local public school. I had never been to public school so I decided to give it a try. I wanted the full public school experience; buses, sports, lunch. And I got it. It was not at all what I expected. I was completely overwhelmed. Catholic school had in no way prepared me to deal with life outside of St. Joe.

Being in such a small graduating class made us a family. I had 5 sisters and 4 brothers. We were all very close. We joked around with each other as if we had been together all our lives, and we basically had. As far back as we can remember we had always been there. But this had in no way prepared us to deal with anyone else. We had settled into a routine. We did the exact same things every day and nothing ever changed.

As a result of being sheltered for so long we lacked certain abilities and skills that others, who went to public school, obtained through their school years. When high school began I received a huge culture shock. People were completely different outside of my little religious world. I had minimal knowledge of the real world and no social skills to deal with people. The only people that I could readily relate to were my brothers and sisters from school.

After time the shock wore off and I made new friends, but the initial shock remained. Because of the sheltered upbringing that I experienced for so many years I am damaged. It takes awhile to mend extensive damage that was done for so many years. I’m not sure that the damage will ever be undone, it is an ongoing process. This I believe. I am damaged.