If I had to compare my middle school self to a movie character, I’d say I was definitely a female Napoleon Dynamite — although I couldn’t even dance anywhere nearly as well as he did. No, my early attempts at just about anything during that age resembled the first steps of a newborn doe — mostly confused and lost.
We all remember being there, though. Everyone has embarrassing middle-school moments they look back upon and laugh. So, let’s take a cringe-worthy walk down memory lane as we look back on some of the moments that almost all young adults today can relate to.
1. Rocking “Adorable” Gym Shorts
If you’re a twenty-something-year-old girl, you probably remember Soffe shorts. I remember a distinct period of time where every girl walked around in these during the warm seasons and in gym classes. It goes without saying that Versace played no role in the design of these shorts. They were comfy and cute enough I guess, but much like other trends of the time such as the Livestrong band fad, they became way overplayed.
Who else remembers the love-hate relationship many of us had with braces as kids? In my circle of friends, having braces was almost like some sort of badge of adulthood. However, braces aren’t always fun or easy to take care of, especially when you’re young and don’t really know how to take care of yourself yet anyway! I remember many a time chomping down on corn-on-the-cob only to realize later just how regrettable that decision was. Braces — gotta love ’em!
3. Texting Like a Fiend
Getting my first cell phone also significantly marked my transition from kid to tween — in my mind at least. The device would be considered a dinosaur now, but at the time it made me feel ready for a Porsche and a corner office. Old-school flip phones don’t offer much over today’s smartphones, but I will admit there are times where I miss the days when my phone had a raised keyboard!
4. Sharing Everything on IM and Social Media
Every single teacher ever lectured my classmates and me about the dangers of sharing too much online. And do you know what? We did it, anyway.
Does anyone really need to read, “OMG, you guys, my guinea pig just took his first poop! So adorable, LOL?” Nope. But I stand guilty as accused. And did I genuinely need to post a selfie every time I went somewhere exciting like the corner store? Nope, again — but I did that, too.
5. Doing Every Silly “Challenge”
C’mon, admit it, you played Chubby Bunny at least once at a sleepover — I know I did, and as a result, I still despise the taste of marshmallows. And while the game did pose minimal risk, other popular challenges today are far more dangerous. Fortunately, most of us who are early-twenty-somethings now matured enough before the Tide Pod challenge came out.
6. Scrambling to the Back of the Bus to Trade Snacks
The very last seat on the school bus may as well have read, “Reserved for Cool Kids Only.” Getting away with silly stuff was far easier with 24 rows of seats separating you and the driver.
We weren’t allowed to eat on the bus, but those who scored a coveted back seat still doled out chips and Cheetos like St. Nick dropping toys down the chimney. Soda earned even more cool points, although the lack of shocks on the bumpy old bus made opening a can of pop a risky proposition.
7. Dancing Like No One Was Watching
The ultimate rite of passage into adult clubbing, the middle school dance, got everyone dressed up in their fanciest duds. At my first one, I forgot about our schools’ draconian and altogether sexist dress code and wore an off-the-shoulder dress. I had to cover up with my art teacher’s sweatshirt to keep from tempting boys into acts of sin given the singular sexiness of my middle-school clavicle.
Luckily, the experience didn’t keep me from getting my middle-school groove on. I had fun, and even got to go steady with the boy of my dreams — for a whole two hours.
No Matter What, We Made It Through!
Middle school combines all the joys of raging hormones with child-like immaturity. It’s a crazy age, but if you’re reading this, then, like me, you survived it intact. And now we have some great tales to tell the next round of youngsters going through this unfortunate time in their lives!