Reunited And It Feels Less Weird Than I Thought It Would

I recently attended a reunion for my elementary school graduating class. It’s been about nine and a half years since we graduated from our small elementary school, and a lot of us parted ways in high school. So I was very surprised to see that over Facebook, one girl invited most of the 32 of us, as well as a few others who left the school before grade 8, to her house for a reunion.

At first I didn’t want to go. I mean, there’s a reason I don’t talk to most of them anymore. We aren’t friends. Never were. I do still talk to three people from elementary school, but those friendships were formed before/after those years anyway. Plus, like, the point of a reunion is to go flex a little, right? Show ’em how great you’re doing. And what news did I have to share? Nothing. I’m currently unemployed, live with my parents, and have less friends than I did back then.

awkward peace gif.

But two of the three people I am in contact with decided they were going to go to the reunion, so I agreed to as well, as long as they promised to not let me get trapped in a weird conversation. I thought the whole thing would be weird and awkward and we’d leave after half an hour, but it was actually a lot more fun than I anticipated!

There were only five people there when we arrived and about four more came later, so it was a small event. It would have been nice to see more, but I do think the smaller group was less overwhelming. We chatted and drank and reminisced, and it was alright. It was familiar, in a sweet way. These people used to be essentially my whole world, in a sense. And now, my world has expanded, but no matter what we grow to do or where we go, we all came from the same small school in the same small town, and it’s an experience that only we can share in.

Iron Man 3 we're connected gif.

I was also worried that the whole thing would be awkward because it’s not only that I wasn’t very close to these people ten years ago, but I actively didn’t like a few of them. And maybe it’s because we all matured or I was just too drunk to care, but it wasn’t weird at all, because nothing mattered now. It was so nice to just interact with people and not worry about the quality/value of your interactions because it was a one-time thing for catching up and then we’d go our separate ways. Maybe we’ll reunite again, but also maybe not.

Overall, I had a good time and I’m glad I went. If there’s ever a proper high school reunion in the future, I think I’d probably go to that too. In fact, a month ago, I ended up unexpectedly hanging out with two people I was friends with in high school, and it was nice.

If you’ve been invited to a reunion and are on the fence about going, I suggest you do it. It could be fun. I’m someone who usually doesn’t like interacting with people who don’t clearly want to interact with me (a tactic that often leads to me sitting alone at parties, 10 out of 10 would not recommend), but this reunion taught me that just because you haven’t seen someone in ten years or five years or even one year, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice evening together just because.

Game Of Thrones cheers gif.

 

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High School Clichés In Movies

Lately I’ve been obsessively listening to the Broadway Mean Girls soundtrack (it’s good stuff, y’all–listen to it here), and there’s one song called ‘Where Do You Belong’ that isn’t even in my top five songs of the show, but I’ve had it stuck in my head a lot. It’s a really showtune-y song and it’s really fun, but the reason I’m talking about it is because it’s all about finding and sticking with your clique in high school. If you’ve seen the Mean Girls movie, you’d know that it heavily relied on the concept of high school clichés and cliques.

Mean Girls isn’t the only movie to feature this. If you’ve seen any high school-set piece of media, you’d know what I’m talking about. High schools in America all apparently have these popularity hierarchies with football players, cheerleaders, and mean girls at the top and band geeks or nerds at the bottom with everyone else living precariously in the middle, afraid to disrupt the order.

Stick to the status quo gif
High School Musical had a whole song about it!

And I say “America” because I am Canadian and this high school set up is so weird to me. My high school wasn’t like that at all. I mean, we didn’t have football players or cheerleaders, but we did have more well-known kids (I wouldn’t say ‘popular’) and kids who played Yu-gi-oh before class and musical theater kids. But there was no set hierarchy that dictated the way we behaved. There was no pronounced bullying. I’m not saying we were all BFFs with each other, but there were no clear cliques. We were just kind of friends with who we wanted to be friends with. That’s why I’ve never really identified with high schools portrayed in media because they all seemed so hellish and unnecessary.

Are American high schools really like the way they seem in movies and TV? Do football players really run the show? Do the hallways really part when popular kids stroll through? I’ve considered that perhaps my high school was just an anomaly and other Canadian schools may align with the media, especially given that I went to a Catholic school in a largely middle-class town, so I asked around. Overall, people said that there were popular kids (often athletes) and some mild bullying, but nothing strongly resembling the movies. To be fair, I only asked like ten people, and I think they all went to school in the same province as I did, so I know it’s not concrete data, but still. I also asked a couple of American internet friends, and while they said their high schools were a bit more clichéd, it still wasn’t as dramatic.

So, now the questions remain: are there high schools where people are labeled and forced into hierarchical cliques and football players are local celebrities? And if not, why does movie after movie perpetuate this idea? What’s fun or smart about portraying a wildly unrealistic setting? Isn’t the point of high school-set media to make it relatable to everyone because we all went to high school?

I don't get it gif

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so let me know what country you went to high school in and what that experience was/is like.

 

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