by Ella Scher ’23
The first thing you need to know about high school is that it sucks, and anyone who tells you that they actually enjoyed their time in high school is either a sociopath, a has-been, or a liar. It’s a hot mess of drama, complicated friendships, and forced assimilation.
To be perfectly honest, my direct and honest advice to anyone coming after me is to sell out. Do it now, and do it fast. Individuality is overrated. You will have a much better time if you remember and abide by the fact that you are
1) just like everyone else and
2) mentally well (even if that’s a lie).
There’s a reason Cady joined the Plastics in Mean Girls. As much as you want to tell yourself you’re different, unique and special, you are just a seething bucket of self-loathing and bad choices just waiting to happen.
So if you’d like to survive, wear the brands everyone else wears. Listen to exactly the same music as everyone else, watch the same shows, play the same games, and form absolutely no original opinions at all. It’s kind of like 1984, but instead of Big Brother, everyone else is judging you. Constantly.
High school will be much more enjoyable, even bearable, if you surrender your mind completely to the advanced directive of Normal and Sane.
Or you can do what I did, which was act consistently awkward, creepy, and generally off-putting, and see if it gets you any further than it did me. (Spoiler: not that far.) If it helps, your future self will probably thank you. It’s very hard to make friends when you look and act downright freakish on the best of days.
Satire aside, this is my honest and unbiased advice for everyone, not just incoming freshmen.
Just do the thing. You could get hit by a car in the Sherwood parking lot tomorrow and die, or contract an incurable prion disease from an undercooked chicken sandwich. So buy the $8 custom shake, go to the party even if it sounds lame, dye your hair a hideous green, or skip doing your homework in favor of hanging out with your friends at the mall. If you live every single day planning for an entirely respectable and successful future, you’ll miss a lot of the here and now.
(Not saying the here and now is necessarily good. Sometimes the best you can hope for in high school is ‘pretty okay.’)
(It really does get better when you graduate.)