That’s So High School
By Renee Gauthier
Published on Friday, April 20, 2012
If we’re going to take pop culture portrayals as any indication, high school tends to go one of two ways for most people. You can either be a) popular, talented and secretly reviled by the majority of the student body, or b) miserable. Pop culture tends to reinforce the latter as the norm, with most of us disenfranchised underlings just keeping our heads down and counting the days until college will relieve us of the hell that is high school.
Well, maybe that’s a bit dramatic. Regardless, there were a few of us who may have been slightly ecstatic to leave high school behind — or at least certain aspects of it. Despite how apparently eager we all were to move on in college, many of us simply cannot overcome the temptation to run back what many of us ironically wished to escape — high school behavior. I have friends that still carry a few automatic, self-defensive quips for when we are accused of acting in such a manner.
“Oh, not me!” they say. “I’m well-adjusted and mature now!” Well, OK, good for you. You can laugh self-righteously at the rest of us while we continue to deal with the following panic-inducing problems:
Facetime: In high school, facetime was all about cafeteria tables. “Mean Girls” said it best: “You got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, JV jocks, Asian nerds, cool Asians, varsity jocks, unfriendly black hotties, girls who eat their feelings, girls who don’t eat anything, desperate wannabes, burnouts, sexually active band geeks...” Where you sat determined your coolness — or lack thereof — and you can bet that the more visible you were, the cooler you were. It just makes sense (in the same way that everything you did in high school made sense). The absence of concrete mealtimes in college (2 a.m. mozz sticks? Yes, please!) has pretty much done away with designated tables, but in order to fill the void, we now have FFB, Collis and the FoCo runway (RIP old FoCo). It’s a trickier system than cafeteria tables, which you could at least prepare for. But sometimes you find yourself in a prime facetime spot looking decidedly un-facetime-y. It’s unfortunate and we’ve all been there, but that definitely won’t stop us from judging anyone else in the same position.
Cliques: We’ve still got them. Now, they just wear the same Greek letters or play the same sport or live on the same floor (I’m looking at you, freshmen). They are your best friends, and OMG you just can’t imagine hanging out with any other group of people ever because your friends are just the coolest. Look, it’s totally normal to have a friend group. It’s even natural to suspect (even if you never share these suspicions with anyone else) that you and your friends are just a teensy bit more awesome than everyone else. That’s friendship. It idealizes the people within your social circle and makes them endearing to you. It’s a wonderful thing. What’s not so wonderful is ceasing to acknowledge the merit of anyone outside your own group simply because they’re outside of your own group. It is, admittedly, an easy trap to fall into, especially when the groups become larger. Being affiliated with a specific group doesn’t mean you have to make it your entire world. There are only 4,000 of us here to begin with, anyway. Subgroups aren’t as necessary as you might think.
The Rumor Mill: Remember the good old days when you actually had to work to start a rumor? You had to meticulously select the victim, invent a story and then, most crucially, figure how exactly who to tell to spread said rumor. Would it be more credible as a word-of-mouth thing or as a scribbled accusation on a bathroom stall? Emailing AIM chats to friends from your AOL account? Who would be most likely to believe it? And most importantly, how could you keep the authorities (also known as your principal and/or your parents) from identifying you as the source? Fortunately, these problems do not plague Dartmouth students! Behold that haven of hearsay — Bored@Baker. Now you can impugn someone’s character in mere seconds, right in between taking class notes and checking your Facebook notifications. Now everyone will know that House X is B-side and so-and-so hooked up with that other person. Congratulations, monarch of muckraking! You’re truly making the world a better place for all of us, operating under the cover of anonymity in the manner of a truly great informational philanthropist. May I say, on behalf of all of us, thank you.
Formals (and all the associated drama): If you can believe it, they’re even less classy now than they were in high school. Go figure.