1. The sweethearts who are ~*~iN iT 4 LyFe~*~.
There is a certain kind of outrageously committed love that can only be experienced — and displayed with complete unawareness of how ridiculous one looks — while in the free-wheeling years high school. The climate is right for the be-all, end-all romance that is destined to last for years and years, yet consistently ends up dissipating shortly before all parties involved head off to college where they correctly suspect that life in general will be a Roman orgy that one does not want to be tethered down for. For this couple, the world is their oyster, the locker bank their steamy lovemaking room, and their entire social group the sounding board for their various trials and tribulations. Although it’s somewhat depressing that these couples end up going suburban Romeo & Juliet and separating before they make it out into the real world, it’s probably better than the alternative, which would actually imply marrying and swiftly procreating with the person you sat next to in 9th-grade chemistry.
2. The drama nerd who takes it way too seriously.
Speaking as someone who was a high school drama nerd herself (by this I mean theater/drama club, not gossip, although we were all a little bit too much into that, as well), I can confirm that hell hath no fury like a high school ingenue scorned. Roles were the only form of currency respected in this claustrophobic clique, and if someone didn’t get a good one when they expected nothing short of the lead, we could all prepare to hear about it for the next several millennia. Despite the overall social ineptitude of this group as a whole, these were the people who, through their prowess on the stage, were rendered incredibly desirable within their own circle and were able to plow through drama club panties like a farmer through particularly fertile soil. In any case, the essential for being a hardcore drama nerd was to take it all incredibly seriously, because if you didn’t, who else would?
3. The jock with a heart of gold.
While so many jocks were so easily enviable/detestable for their high social status, ripped torsos, packed party calendars, and overall unawareness about the world which didn’t directly involve their sport of choice, there was occasionally one who showed (much like the Grinch, if the Grinch walked around unironically in a letterman jacket and enjoyed the taste of Beast Ice), that his heart was capable of growing three sizes and breaking the little scale. You see, not all jocks were soulless athletic machines concocted by the Republican party to make the more noodly members of the graduating class feel terrible about themselves — some were actually really cool people who also liked books and talking about their feelings. As few things are more distressing to the human psyche than admitting we may be wrong about something, it was disarming to say the least to confront a jock who eroded your ability as a nerd to smugly say to yourself “Well, at least I have a brain, at least I’m not some mindless meathead.” Apparently, you could be both.
4. The computer nerd who has a hard time functioning as a human being.
I’m going to keep my criticism of this person short because I am fairly certain he is now doing things such as founding multi-billion dollar internet companies and harvesting all of our personal information to sell to advertisers, but suffice it to say, he will certainly be exacting the revenge in adulthood upon all the wrongs performed on him when he was just a 17-year-old who weighed 95 pounds and enjoyed World of Warcraft more than a doctor would deem advisable.
5. The weeaboos who have not yet realized that they’re white.
Whether they were wearing cat ears and/or dog collars to school like it wasn’t a completely insane thing to do, inserting “kawaii” and “desu” into every sentence that consisted of more than two words, or renaming themselves something like “Haruka-chan” and only responding to this name from that point on, these kids were simply not accepting the memo that they were, in fact, white people. It’s a hard thing to judge, as well, because on the one hand you’re like, “Well, I mean, they have serious balls to be doing that shit every day, good for them, I guess,” and on the other, you’re like, “Damn, this is kind of creepy and fetishizing and racist and do they know that Japanese people are actual human beings and not some kind of Chuck E Cheese tokens you collect to cash in for prizes?” The jury’s still out on that one.
6. The crush to end all crushes.
There was one person for all of us in high school who, beyond all units of measurement we could understand in the relative clarity of adulthood, embodied romantic perfection in every sense of the word. They may not have been the most objectively attractive person, but they were gorgeous to you. They may not have had a ton in common with you, but you were positive on your soulmate status. In fact, chances are high that they literally never had an actual conversation with you or knew for sure that you existed, but you were more in love with them than any person would ever be capable of experiencing in their wildest dreams. All you needed to sustain your enduring, fiery-hot passion for this person was a once-yearly exchange of “Hey, could I borrow a pencil,” and “Sure.” That pencil that you borrowed from them — this pencil that now contained VERIFIABLE DNA FROM YOUR CRUSH’S ACTUAL BODY — would become your most prized possession for the next several months. Sure, it may not have been reasonable, but it gave meaning to your otherwise pretty mundane 16-year-old lives.
7. The Teen Mom™
If you went through high school without one or several bouts of teenage motherhood, good for you. I know that it may not be a universal experience, but chances are high that if you went to a regular old public school, at least one of your classmates was gonna get knocked up before prom (or maybe even at prom, I’m not here to judge everyone’s preferred timetables). Suffice it to say, your school likely erupted into the world’s least-coordinated episode of Maury, complete with widespread speculation about who the father is, as well is what is going to happen to the mom once the kid is actually born. (“Is the baby going to chill out with us in class? Is it going to be the school mascot? Is the mom going to get special privileges at lunch time? She better not.”)
8. The person who has way too much school spirit for a high school.
Maybe I’m just biased (I am) because I never loved high school enough to consider it something to be particularly proud of, but few things are stranger to me than the concept of being SUPER PUMPED ABOUT this place that you had zero choice in going to. It’s not like prisoners are getting all worked up at pep rallies chanting the prison motto and wearing prison-related outfits on days when they weren’t obligated to show spirit. I guess if you were playing sports or something there is some sense in having pride in the institution, but even then, only a certain amount seems reasonable. The real cheer seems better reserved for college when you actually have some choice invested in the whole thing. And yet, there they were, the people who were constantly decked out in school paraphernalia, screaming at the top of their lungs at every rally, seemingly ready to die à la William Wallace to defend the honor of their crappy high school.
9. The misanthrope.
I think, if we’re being honest with ourselves, a lot of us would probably fondly consider ourselves the misanthropes of our respective institutions. Come on, it’s way cooler to be Daria/Jane than it is to be Brittany. This person was often seen walking the halls with a general look of disdain and hyper-awareness of all of the things that are pretentious and/or ridiculous about the people around them. They were ready to judge any and everything without ever really turning that critical eye back towards themselves, which is essential — as any 16-year-old, no matter how cool and disaffected, is guaranteed to be a house made entirely of glass when it comes to righteous criticism about their appearance or personality.
10. The bully straight out of an after-school special.
I think it’s safe to say that, unless you were a super cool person who was covered in some kind of Teflon coating that made you completely impervious to criticism, you had to encounter at least one bully in your high school life. And there was almost nothing worse than feeling as though, no matter what you were doing with your already-difficult life at 16, there was someone there to make it worse and/or mock it every step of the way. It takes a special kind of sadism in an adolescent whose brain is not even fully formed to want to actively dedicate the burgeoning cranial cells to making another youth’s life a living hell, but you can rest in comfort knowing that your former bully is now most likely smoking Pall Malls indoors, taking pictures of their tribal tattoos for Facebook, and getting married to people whose wardrobe is at least 70 percent comprised of wifebeaters. Karma is a beautiful mistress.
For more discoveries we made during our k-12 educations, pick up Chelsea’s eBook, Take Out Your Earrings Before You Fight (And Other Things I Learned In Public School). You can find it here.