Sunday, November 21, 2010

High School Ain't No Musical

As I'm researching universities (my list right now: McGill, Bishop's, Winnipeg, Wilfrid Laurier), getting all scared to make the transition from the safe, familiar hallways of high school to the scary, new classrooms (and dorm rooms!) of university, I've been thinking back to the time when high school did not seem so safe. I remember the first day, when I only talked to one person, a friend had gone to my middle school, and we ate outside because we were too afraid that the cafeteria would be like the one in Mean Girls. Once upon a time, high school was really scary to me. Now, it's just boring, and familiar, and almost bittersweet, as this place I once feared so much becomes a place I know I will miss so much. To that end, I wanted to write a little piece for all the future high school students. This is for all the kids who are in eighth grade right now, starting to tour high schools, feeling all intimidated by the the older kids, the scary teachers, and the foreign hallways. This is for people like me, who imagined high school would be a scene out of a teen movie. 'Cause trust me kids, it's not. High school is nothing like you think it will be and nothing like you'll want to be. Specifically, here are the top five lies that pop culture teaches you about high school, that are totally not true (at least at my school):

1) The Cafeteria is the Scariest Place in the world

Example: Mean Girls

Let me tell you, at my school, if you eat in the cafeteria, you are pretty weird. Sure, yeah, kids buy food from the cafeteria, but they always bring it to the locker banks upstairs to eat with their friends. There are certainly no "popular tables" or "jock tables" or anything like that. For that matter, there aren't even really cliques. People follow from friend group to friend group. Nothing is really rigidly defined, and people aren't grouped by hobby or race or popularity, like they are in Mean Girls. So trust me, the cafeteria is nothing to be worried about.

2) Football players and cheerleaders rule the school

Example: Bring It On

Yeah, okay. My school doesn't even have cheerleaders. And we don't really even have a football team. We have half a football team, that we share we another school. And no one cares about them. The two kids in my class that are on the team are not particularly popular. So you don't have to try out for the football team to impress people, and you don't have to be a cheerleader to get guys to notice you. None of it matters.

3) The SAT will rule your life

Example: Gossip Girl

In Canada no one writes the SAT. It isn't required (or even desired) by Canadian universities, so most people don't bother. A friend of mine is writing it, because she wants to apply to American universities, but she's the only one I know. So don't be scared that you'll have to be studying like crazy for the SAT. Quite simply, it does not exist in Canada.

4) If you mess up you'll have to go to detention. On a saturday.

Example: The Breakfast Club (what is with people and embedding?!?)

Teachers don't want to waste their time outside of class! Trust me! They want to school to end just as much as you do! They don't want to give up their time to come in on a saturday! Also on that note, teachers don't want to waste their time marking extra credit assignments! They'll mark the real work, so you better do well on that. Because there's no extra credit to make up for it. Teachers don't have the time to mark extra stuff on top of all the other marking they have to do. Basically, teachers are serious about their time. They won't waste it on stupid stuff.

5) School dances are the best/worst moments of your life

Example: Life, Unexpected

At my school we don't even have dances. Apparently some kid brought a knife to a dance like ten years ago and tried to hurt someone, and ever since dances have been outlawed. So no, school dances have not been an important part of my high school experience. I've never even been to one!

So don't worry, all you young ones. High school is not nearly as scary as you think it's going to be. It's not like on Glee where you get slushied in the face all the time or get randomly pushed into lockers. High school is not nearly that exciting. You go to class. You come home. You do homework. Maybe you go to some parties on the weekend. Big deal. Trust me when I say this, high school is not the great time that some people say it is, nor is it the Worst Time of Your Life, as many tv shows and movies would have you believe. Your high school years will be hard. There will be highs and lows. Lots of drama. Lots of tears. Lots of hard works. Lots of rewards. Lots of friends. And tons of great memories. It will go by quickly, so treasure it, no matter how scary or challenging it may seem.

So good luck young ones. And good luck to me, as I prepare to leave the place I have come to love (and hate!) over the last four years.

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