Looking back at those years, I am filled with bittersweet agony. I, like so many millions, looked forward to entering high school and did so with the best of intentions. However, I made a few missteps — a lot of which were a result of pressure built on by the numerous myths which filled my head about high school from movies, T.V. and books which made high school look like some sort of a wild jungle party.
In the following, I will be debunking a few of them for every teen out there who is about to enter high school.
1. Only the popular kids have fun
No high school is anything like what we were shown in the movie Mean Girls! There is no elite group which runs the whole school. Yes, there will be certainly people who are more outgoing than others and have a wider circle of friends, but the truth is that most high schools are so big that people don’t really care about how popular you are. And there are not going to be crazy parties every weekend being thrown by this popular clique, with being invited to the party as some sort of acceptance criteria.
The idea is to find your group of friends or like-minded people and have the best time possible while focusing on learning as much as you can (and proving it with good grades). Most parties or hangouts are among close group of friends and are low key. The supreme power of the popular clique is a total myth, unless your high school has like 30 kids in it total.
Do not enter high school with a mindset that you need to be part of any clique to survive that place. You just have to be yourself for the right kind of friends to like you just the way you are.
I remember walking scared all day long on the first Friday of my high school year. All you freshmen out there, you may breathe a sigh of relief there is hardly such thing as a Freshman Friday any more!
It took me a whole day of holding my breath to realize everyone’s just too busy and don’t really care enough about the freshman to torture them. Some seniors might make you feel that they are superior to you in some ways, which they really aren’t except for their knowledge about the building. There might be some ragging or some people might pull a few pranks but people rarely get physical, unless you somehow end up involved with the wrong kind of kids — in which case get an adult involved if you do not feel safe or are bullied harshly.
Many high schools offer freshmen some sort of mentoring program to jump start their high school experience, so make sure you check out what your school has to offer before the school year starts.
Not everyone comes to school in their own personal Benz or Mustang GT — most of the cars in the parking lot probably belong to the teachers or the staff.
Unless your parents got bucks, the usual way you get your first car is that you finish school, get a job and then get your own car, even if its a jalopy. Do not expect your parents to buy you a car automatically when you turn 16, and do not enter high school thinking you need a ride to impress people.
If you want to impress people impress them with your talents and your personality.
Yes, it is true that we become more aware of our sense of style and fashion in the high school years, but it certainly doesn’t mean you have to be on some sort of a bandwagon.
It helps to look presentable and take care of your grooming, because that is just polite and also makes you feel good, but your style or the label on your clothing is not the key to your social life. Within a couple of weeks after school starts everyone gets so busy with exams, projects and other stuff that people hardly pay attention to what other people are wearing.
So no need to fret over what to wear every morning, just follow what is your true style or whatever you are in the mood for.
A lot of teens enter high school thinking these are supposed to be the best years of their lives and they should live it up as much as they can before its all over.
Also, just because everyone seems to be dating, doesn’t mean you have to be in any hurry…because the best years are still to come. Your thirties and forties will be way better than this, believe me.
These are the years to make mistakes and not take things too seriously. I was so nervous about “being trapped” that I ended up being in an open relationship. I thought with this no strings attached kind of thing going I would be happy and free, but the truth is I ended up being miserable and multiple commitments even effected my grades.
High school can be a different sort of an experience for everyone. You shouldn’t enter high school with too many preconceived ideas. It is the best time to explore yourself, and what options you have for the future. Your college admission also depends on what you do in this time, so sacrifice a little here by hitting the books and it should pay off in the best years of your life later.
Another myth which should be debunked here is that teens often think “I don’t need to participate in extra-curricular activities; I should just focus on my grades.” This statement is completely false.
Colleges and Universities always look for well-rounded applicants. Even if you are the smartest kid in your school academically, colleges will debate whether they should accept you or not just because you did not participate in any extracurricular activities. Even without college plans, extracurricular activities teach you so much more than what books can. You get to learn patience, persistence and discipline, as well as develop artistically, athletically, and/or spiritually. These are desirable qualities and part of your life education, so do not focus only on your grades, but try something new to expand your horizons.
I was terrified of entering bathrooms when I first went to high school, because nearly every movie I have ever seen shows a bunch of tough looking kids in leather jackets that hang out in bathrooms all day ready to beat nerds up in between drags of their cigarette or swigs of beer — or smoking weed and being stupid.
While you may encounter a few kids here and there being naughty, this is rare. And definitely not like what you see in the movies. In fact, if teens are going to misbehave, they usually do it far away from teachers — meaning they wait until after school on their way home.
Many students believe since they need their standardized test results just before they need to apply for college of their choice; they should wait until the very end to even think about these tests. Actually the earlier you prepare for your ACT and/or SAT exams, the better off you will be. There are plenty of resources for taking practice tests, study guides, and more online which will help you prepare. It is better to take the SATs as early as possible, as it gives you more time to restudy and retake the test for better scores.
This comes from personal experience.
Another very interesting myth that is sometimes manifested is that the lone star shines the brightest. In truth, teens need to learn the importance of teamwork and getting along with people.
When working together, sometimes team members become competitive and try to outshine each other or focus only on their part in the project. There has been a paradigm shift in the corporate culture over the past few years. Every company now looks for a team player and wants to see how well you will blend in. Therefore, it is very important to participate in all sorts of group activities. High school is one of the best times to get exposed to the concept.
So, whenever you are part of a group don’t just focus on yourself and sulk in a corner or try to dominate: see how you can contribute to the success of the whole team.
No you don’t. You also don’t need to do so in college either. The truth is, there are no 100 percent, across the boards rules about this. Instead, it kind of depends on your upbringing, your parent’s guidance, your cultural background, your religious beliefs, and even what part of the country you live in. Mots of all, it depends on your gut, and what makes your comfortable in accordance with the previous factors.
The point is…there is no rush.
So there you have it. High school is what you make of it, and hopefully you will get to know yourself much better. It is a phase where some of the lessons you learn will stay with you for life, so do not let these myths spoil your experience for you.
Samar is a senior writer for OLWOMEN.com, an avid reader, fashion and make up enthusiast who simply lives to write and talk about all kinds of stuff. Focusing on open-relationship rules these days and especially about the signs he’s cheating you!