Ah, The High School Social Life

Last night was the first school-sponsored party/dance called Monte Carlo Night. Since pretty much the whole school is in attendance, it reminded me of what I like most about high school and what I don’t. What I like is probably not singular to high school – who doesn’t like being around smart, funny friends with good music, lots of food and drink, etc.? While I do have an intellectual/philosophical bent, not as much as Aaron Swartz who, in chronicling his first week at Stanford, writes:

Inside the party, the clear focus was on the dancing. Teenagers moving their bodies in bizarre and vaguely rhythmic positions in close proximity to one another. I’d seen the practice frequently enough on TV, so on one level I knew what to expect, but on another it was wholly bizarre. It was like watching brownian motion or a complex screensaver, it’s completely meaningless and random but it’s also complicated enough that you don’t look away.

But I am guilty of sometimes thinking about situations as an innocent, 3rd party spectator, looking down on the environment I’m in (“self-awareness”?). And in that light, last night confirmed all the things why most people think high school was the worst time of their life. First, the never ending social climbing. Making friends just to become friends with someone else just to move an inch on the social ladder. Showing up at an after party for 5 minutes just so people know that you are among the elite group of kids who know about such exclusive events, let alone get in. On and on and on. Second, dancing. Some do it, some don’t. If you don’t, it’s incredibly awkward, especially after you’ve been labeled/categorized as such. Despite talk of “breaking out of your shell,” most kids do not. It is just too hard. So, this makes for people standing around on the outside, embarrassed and awkward. Third, attractive girls are friends with other attractive girls. And if you’re not in this inner circle, you are ostracized big time. Nothing angers me more than that girl who is very bright, funny, interesting, etc. but just doesn’t have the perfect bod, and that makes her experience in high school miserable.

The one thing I didn’t touch on was “sex, drugs, and alcohol.” That’s for a later post. :-)

One Response to Ah, The High School Social Life

  1. Chris Yeh says:

    As crazy as it may sound, being cool is ultimately just a matter of confidence.

    As long as you are confident in who you are and what you do (and as long as that confidence is based on a realistic self-assessment), others will fall in line.

    What makes high school so difficult is that most people have not yet had enough experiences to have a strong sense of self. As a result, people seek that confidence by grouping together.

    No one, no matter how obnoxious, can make you fell bad as long as you have that confidence. Their attacks will wash off like the waves breaking on a rock.

    Of course, I didn’t have that level of confidence until I was 25, which may not help you much unless you get held back 8 or 9 years!

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