It’s back-to-school season, a time of year when we’re thinking a lot an important, unimpeachable truth we need to share: High school is not the same as high school in the movies. This is a difficult concept to grasp, we know, especially since all high school movies seem to be the same. They show cliques set in stone, amazing parties, and everyone ever looking like a movie star—but in reality, high school IS NOTHING LIKE THAT.
So here you are, dreaming about that first day of school—imagining it will be just like Clueless. and you and your besties would burst in wearing matching outfits and all eyes would be on you and everything will be grand. Well. . . sadly no. To help you prevent any back-to-school embarrassment and to educate all of us on this weird high school fantasy world vs. real life, here are a few things that only seem to happen in high school movies.
1. You will get a life-changing makeover from your friends that will instantly make you popular
Do NOT let your friends give you a makeover. It will surely turn into a make-under because your teenage friends are not professional beauticians. Looking back at my Kool-Aid dye jobs and eyebrow plucking that lead to no eyebrows at all, I wish I learned my lesson the first time.
2. You will eat lunch in the bathroom
This has never happened to me, and I’ve had my lows in popularity/friends. This feels a little dramatic. Maybe this does happen? But I’m pretty sure in real life people will let you sit with them and you will not be exiled. Also bologna and the bathroom bleach are a terrible combination.
3. Who you sit with at lunch matters
There is no Mean Girls map of popularity. Sure, there are cliques. But cliques aren’t set in stone. Granted, it’s been a while since I was in school, but I remember cliques mixing up. And anyone who actually believes in lunchroom seating charts will most likely peak in high school.
4. Everyone is like, really well dressed
Two words: Costume Designer. There’s a reason Cher and Dion are dressed to the nines and The Plastics are perfectly coordinated. It’s a professional. My high school’s collective wardrobe consisted mostly of UGG boots and Juicy velour sweat suites (and now I am aging myself).
5. There will be an epic house party
It starts off casual, “just a few cool people and you better be one of them, byotch,” and will turn into mayhem. There will be a band, a DJ, an unlimited supply of kegs and a night you will never forget. Think Can’t Hardly Wait meets Mean Girls. The reality? Not so much. Sure, there will be parties. But the better ones are in college.
6. There will be a choreographed number at the school dance that makes you question if most of your friends are undercover professional dancers
Doesn’t happen. Most of the time no one really dances at dances. And if they do, it’s nowhere near choreographed. And on that note, no one will randomly break out into song. Unless you’re in the school plays.
7. Prom Queen is a really big deal
Yes, there are prom queens. But it’s not that big of a deal. Some schools don’t even allow it. And most of the time, if there are prom queens, they don’t give epic speeches or get pig’s blood thrown on to them.
8. Everyone you go to school with looks like they’re about 30
It’s crazy to see how young high school students look now. But then looking back at my yearbook, I guess I looked pretty young too. But Grease? I get it was set in the ’50s, but everyone looks about 30 and fabulous.
9. There’s an epic food fight
The second anything resembled a food fight in high school, it would immediately be stopped. Also cafeteria food wasn’t so terrible that you would want to throw it on your rival. It was actually pretty good. And it was never spaghetti day, which makes the perfect food fight ammunition.
10. You’re in a band and you’re actually good
High school bands were pretty terrible. I mean they were doing it. But they also were doing it for a year. Not like Lindsay and her crew in Freaky Friday. Pretty sure those were professionals too.
So there you have it, high school movie myths debunked. Hope this helps. But remember, there are no rules to fitting in. Just be yourself and think about how great college will be.