Spoiler: High school is NOT like the movies


Photo courtesy Jamie Stern

Seniors Emma Hoffman, Danielle Berman, Nesya Weinsweig, Jamie Stern, Riya Kohli, and Ella Teichberg celebrate their last high school days together with a prom.

As a young kid who watched Disney growing up, my expectations were set high for just about everything in my life. High school was no exception. As I entered my senior year with low hopes due to the facts that the first three years were nothing like the movies, I was still optimistic that this was going to be the best year of my life. Our school basketball team would win the state championship game, my boyfriend who I met in a ski club over winter break would ask me to the prom, and we would attempt a long-distance relationship as we headed into college (still waiting to find a Troy Bolton in a ski club but I don’t sing). Spoiler: high school is nothing like the movies. 

I am the type of person who loves to watch sports. In the High School Musical trilogy, they were constantly at basketball games, and the stands looked fun to be in. Any basketball game I went to, the stands would be packed (I basically only went to the ones against Churchill), and although it was fun to be a part of the crowd, I would be sweating due to the school’s lack of an air conditioning system when you really needed it. At the football games you should beware of the first two rows of the bleachers. They are “reserved” for the Poms team and if you attempt to sit there while they are gone for their halftime performance, you will get yelled at. 

My all-time favorite show, Gossip Girl, depicts the life of privileged high schoolers on the Upper East Side. As I was growing up watching this show, the characters would always go to clubs on school nights, have parties in their luxurious apartments, and attend the most high-end social gatherings. None of their activities, though, included studying. They were also accepted into some of the most prestigious universities in the country: Yale, Columbia, Brown, and NYU. Because of this, I believed my high school experience would include little to no studying time as my dream school was the University of Michigan. I was very wrong. I spent practically my entire freshman to junior year studying for all my classes, AP exams, and SATs and ACTs, and my senior year I spent hundreds of hours applying to colleges. These exhausting, mentally shattering hours I spent trying to make myself be perceived as the “perfect” student, are something that is never shown or talked about. 

I don’t want to sit here and talk about how much I hated high school. Throughout high school, I expected to always have fun as they are the “golden years,” but I didn’t. Yes, I had fun with my friends on some weekends, but I had a dream: to get into the University of Michigan. And I was set on making it come true. Sure, my high school experience wasn’t like the movies, but when I know what I want, I will do anything in my power to get it. 

My senior year has been nothing like I had pictured it. Maybe I would’ve had a better experience if Covid had never happened, and my bedroom never became my classroom. Nonetheless, my senior year is everything I could have wanted it to be given the circumstances. I was able to celebrate my friends’ college decisions with them, have a faux prom with my best friends, we will be having an in-person graduation, and be hopeful for a “normal” college experience in the fall.