High school: The best of times, the worst of times

May 22, 2012

By Olivia Spokoiny

Olivia Spokoiny Skyline High School

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens wrote in his 1859 novel “A Tale of Two Cities.” More than a century later, this famous quote is truer than ever, but in a much different context than he originally intended. In just 12 words, it says everything you would ever need to know about the typical high school experience.

There are, without a doubt, many perks of high school. We experience events that only happen once in a lifetime, like prom and high school graduation. As students, we enjoy a blossoming social life, while transitioning from childhood to adulthood.

But sometimes, the process is hard, because people can be mean. That is where the “worst” comes in. The 2004 Lindsay Lohan film, “Mean Girls,” comes to life in high schools everywhere these days. The kind of viciousness you think you only see in movies is sometimes, unfortunately, closer to reality than fiction.

However, it is not always just the girls that attack each other. Boys dish out a fair share of nastiness, too (and that certainly isn’t to say everyone participates in the inevitable high school drama). A few years ago, high school students in the Issaquah School District buzzed over the development of “May Madness.”

May Madness is a bracket system — reminiscent of basketball’s March Madness — that ranks high school girls based on their “hotness.” It wasn’t long before girls rebutted by developing a similar Facebook page entitled “May Boy Madness.” Since when did high school become a competition where we have to constantly be “one-upping” each other?

Social media is a relatively new outlet for teen viciousness. Some websites allow users to submit comments or ask questions of other users anonymously. Formspring, a website designed in 2009 specifically for that purpose, was all the rage among the school district last year. That, unsurprisingly, resulted in many hurtful comments and offensive, invasive questions. The fad died out within a few months when people began to remove the links from their Facebook pages. For some, it was addicting, because part of the high school experience is the desire to be accepted by peers.

Another new development in online teen viciousness surfaces during homecoming and prom season. Each school has its own “Claim Your Dress” Facebook page that is used to ensure nobody wears the same thing. But when two girls have the same dress, a virtual catfight is more than likely.

One day, we have to grow up and realize that all of the drama and hurt feelings we experienced over these four years were seriously petty, and just move on with our lives.

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