Remember yearbooks? They were such an integral part of the ’90s kid experience, Hanson even wrote a song about them (for what it’s worth, I’m deeply embarrassed to know that, but now you do too). It’s been nearly a decade since I’ve been in high school, so while I’m unfamiliar with the teenage experience in a world with Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, etc., I do know that yearbooks were one of the best parts of my youth.
They made school-years tolerable and gave us something to look at during slow summer days when we missed academic structure but were too full of pride to admit it. They also added an element of mystery to each school-year, and I’m not sure that exists anymore with the explosion of social media.
My yearbooks are surely home to many spiders and cobwebs in my mom’s overflowing guest room closet, but I’m so glad I had them during my younger years. Here’s what I miss most come yearbook distribution time.
10. Being ordered to “put it away” by teachers
By the end of the school-year, kids are so over it, they want to browse their yearbooks in math. Understandably, educators hate this, and though I was never one to get a rise out of authority figures, half the fun of yearbook time is looking at it when you’re supposed to be doing something else … and hopefully not getting it taken away in the process!
9. Finally getting to see your crush’s yearbook photo
If you were anything like me in high school, you didn’t see your crush’s school picture until yearbooks came out, as they never gave you a copy of their portrait at the start of the year. Luckily there was also a glossary in the back of the book that contained page numbers for every student. If none of this rings any bells, congratulations, you weren’t a creepy stalker.
8. Searching for snapshots of yourself and your friends on every single page
The glossaries weren’t 100 percent accurate, so I always took the liberty of looking at each and every page in detail to find images of me and my friends, which hadn’t been recorded. Maybe we were somewhere in the background, cheering at an athletics event. The worst was coming across unflattering pictures from school dances or track meets, and I remember wanting to rip the same page out of every yearbook in circulation.
7. Writing poems in yearbooks
Some people went all out with this, but I was more of a “have a great summer” kind of signer.
6. Making elaborate drawings with colored pens/pencils in yearbooks
Some of my more artistic friends enjoyed doing this, but it meant taking another person’s yearbook for a significant period of time. I didn’t like lending mine to anybody overnight or during class, but I did love the beautiful masterpieces I’d see in yearbooks.
5. Writing novels (in tiny print) in good friends’ yearbooks
My best buds and I always penned long-winded messages to each other in our yearbooks. By the way we talked, you’d think we would never see each other again, but we spent every summer hanging out. Yearbook messages are like wedding vows to high school pals, and if any of us were lacking in sentimentality or flowery language, we gave each other flak for it.
4. Writing embarrassing messages in your significant other’s yearbook
Oh. My. God. If it weren’t illegal, I’d go to my high school sweetheart’s house, take his senior yearbook and rip out the page from me. If it was the back cover, I’d paint over it. If you were cheesy with your first boyfriend or girlfriend, you probably wrote something silly too. At least we can all laugh at ourselves now!
3. Reserving certain spots in the yearbook for good friends or boyfriends/girlfriends
Didn’t people fight over the back and front covers a lot? Even in the world of yearbooks, some spaces are better than others.
2. Coming up with yearbook quotes
And hopefully not getting in trouble for any hidden meanings they may entail.
1. Looking at the yearbook during the dog days of summer
School is a drag, but you know you missed it sometimes.