Julia Hates Something: The Reality of High School
May 17, 2013
Breakfast Club (1985), Clueless (1995), 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Mean Girls (2004), High School Musical(s) (2006-2008)—collectively these movies led me to believe that high school was four years of clichéd bliss: filled with the stereotypical punk groups that smoked cigarettes in the back of the school, an array of knee high socks and crop tops, and a Zac Efron that would sweep me off my feet to perform a choregraphed waltz on the roof of the school.
Upon arrival to high school, I quickly discovered this was not the case.
Albemarle High School has zero punk rockers, no one wears knee high socks, and no boys have nonchalantly sung to me in the breezeway yet, leaving me to realize, to my dismay, that Albemarle is nothing like the teenage heavens portrayed in all of my favorite movies. With the exception of a surprise visit to my Latin class by Ms. Tyler’s Humanities students in which they performed “We’re All in This Together” from High School Musical, there are rarely communal dance numbers arranged by the students here.
These were obviously far-fetched fantasies, but the worst of it all was discovering that lockers aren’t used at Albemarle, therefore destroying my fantasy of having a locker next to the teenage equivalent of Heath Ledger who would quickly and inevitably become my boyfriend. The cafeteria looked nothing like the sparkly and spacious three-story cafeteria depicted in High School Musical, and our cafeteria’s ceiling is too low to be singing and dancing on the table amongst my classmates.
I am afraid of driving and unable to afford a pink punch buggy convertible, therefore I can’t jam to Mandy Moore every afternoon on my way home from school. Hot pink nail polish only brings out the redness of my hands and my phone is cordless and without pink feathers adorning its speakers, so really, I am very average compared to the classic teenage queen.
While this is disappointing, there is a certain peace to be found in a lifestyle that is comparatively modest to that of Regina George’s (Mean Girls) or Cher Horowitz (Clueless). For example, I can shop at secondhand stores and people will say “oh that’s…cute” rather than “you are no longer one of us.” I can wear pink any day of the week if I ever choose to wear pink—which will probably never happen—but the freedom of wardrobe documented in our tacit high school constitution is refreshing.
If I were to get in a fender bender, I would have crashed a 2001 Elantra as opposed to a 2014 Mercedes complete with butt-warmers and a Bath & Body Works refreshener called something like “Waterfall Rain” or “Tropical Beach” or “Not A Soiled Diaper.”
Additionally, Albemarle is diverse in pretty much every way diversity can be present—in race, in its stereotypes (with the exception of punk rockers which I’m still upset about), in style and in interests. The musicals at Albemarle are better than the musicals at East High anyway, even if they lack the arms of Zac Efron. There isn’t a female Spawn of Satan that terrorizes the student body—besides me—to worry about. Saturday detention is not given lightly, which, yes, prevents events similar to those of the Breakfast Club from happening, but it also means that you don’t have to come to school on Saturday, so I think the positives outweigh the negatives on that one.
Despite the glamour and gaudiness of the teenage queens depicted in the cinematic geniuses of the 1980’s to the late 00’s, I would rather attend school with the students of Albemarle then I would the students of “Bronson Alcott High School” or “North Shore High.” We don’t need musical numbers and waltzes on the roof and a Heath Ledger boyfriend to live a high school musical—I think we just need friends and positive energy and ambition.
This is strange coming from someone who has openly hated things all year and derided pop culture extensively, I suppose, but I don’t hate Albemarle.
I love the subtle sense of community Albemarle shares and I love the seven minutes in the breezeway before each class in which I can restore whatever sanity I actually contain and the tacky Patriot visors SCA sells and the incredible artistic talent we have here.
I love that so many of you have been supportive of an angsty adolescent with a loud mouth who had the opportunity to share her unimportant opinions with you via the school newspaper. You made me feel like Benjamin Franklin with his Poor Richard’s Almanac, minus the bifocals and the coolness of being Ben Franklin and the fact that he was one of the men that helped spark the American Revolution, but details, details.
I can’t hate summer because there’s little to hate besides mosquitos and being perpetually sunburnt, so my sweet reader, I leave you on a positive note because everyone deserves to have a wonderful summer—even people that wear see-through shirts, listen to Mariah Carey Christmas albums, use pick-up lines or hate the 1990’s.