Overheard in the 7th Grade Hallways

Overheard in the 7th Grade Hallways
Kelly Killpack

 My 12-year-old brother is a ladies man—check out the girls hovering around him in that picture! Once he comes to DePauw (I’m not giving him a choice), the sorority girls will have a run for their money. Ever since he got a cell phone, his iPhone has been blowing up with texts from multiple girls pining over him. They flock to him, and now that he’s in junior high, his ego has probably shot through the roof. He never gives me much detail on his love life, so I get as much as I can through glances over his shoulder while he’s texting and, of course, from my mom.

I stumbled upon a new source in the world of pre-teens while home recently—the Mustang Messenger. This high quality school newspaper is a perfect peek into a seventh grader’s mind. And now, I’m convinced this is where the boys are getting their love expertise refined. This issue was all about Valentine’s Day, and these kids sure have the answers to love. My favorite article, titled “The Dangers of 7th Grade Love”, was chockfull of wisdom for us DePauw folk. The future hard-hitting journalist provides a list of tips, and I think her advice can easily translate to our Bubble Culture; mind her impeccable writing style...
 
Let’s take a look at some excerpts from a seventh grader’s perspective on relationships, compared to the DePauw protocol for love:
 
So how is the magic done? To begin, don’t obsess over the person; it’ll just get your heart broken. You have to realize that stuff doesn’t always work out, especially in Junior High.
 
Heartbreaks have no age! Everyone needs time to mourn after a fling has passed, but with the fast-paced social life we lead, it’s not worth agonizing over a faded crush. DePauw students and junior high kids are quite similar in that we can quickly bounce back from letdowns. New love is surely around the hallway corner, or in our case, maybe just another spot on campus you haven’t thought to look. Keep busy, (easy for DePauw students!) and you’ll move on in no time. You’ll probably see him out next weekend anyways, so I suppose you don’t have much of a choice on this tiny campus!
 
Don’t follow them around and memorize their schedule. It’s too obvious. And creepy. I’m serious.
 
This is probably my favorite piece of advice. Don’t you think your guy will notice you’re always wandering around Olin after his lab… since you’re a Communication major? It’s a small campus; you’re bound to see him at some point. And on that note, going to his fraternity house every night out may be a bit obvious, so switch it up. Keep him on his toes.
 
 
Notes are never the way to go. It may end up in the wrong hands (like the teacher’s)…If you do end up writing a note, don’t over-do it. No gushy hearts or love poems!
 
Who didn’t feel that pang of anxiety when everyone in the cafeteria heard about that pathetic note you left in the wrong locker for your newest crush? Or was that just me?… I know I’m one to be obvious with my giddy feelings (I don’t seem to have grown up since my middle school days), but there’s a fine line between romantic gestures and obsessive bragging. In DePauw terms, don’t post it all over Facebook, and watch whom you spill your secrets to. The mush on Facebook gets old quick, and we’d prefer the cute romantic notes to one another, or details of your first date on your best friends Timeline to be kept private—save us single girls from further jealousy and spreading it father than you want it. Way worse than stares in the cafeteria during 6th period lunch!
 
Do not- under any circumstances- tell your crush you like him in front of the entire school (aka the cafeteria or the hallways). Everybody hears, everybody knows, everybody sees.
 
Whoa, does this girl go to DePauw? In fact, this piece of advice was written in all caps, so she is quite serious. But she’s right. When your new relationship takes off, keep it on the DL to avoid further blushing. Word travels fast enough that the school catches on to new romances practically before you know it yourself. We’ll all know sooner or later, whether it’s via Facebook (see above) or overheard in the line for lunch at the Hub. I’m an advocate of being open and honest, but unfortunately, at a small school, these types of proclamations come with a cost. Become cutesy confidants; these confessions are meant for one another only anyways! On the other hand, his fraternity brothers seem to always know…
 
Avoid the three deadly words, I Love You. If the feelings aren’t mutual, you’ll end up sending the wrong message.
 
Picture this: You and your new guy flirting and dancing and you haphazardly reveal your too-soon feelings in the middle of the dance floor. Or worse, he says the big “L” word and doesn’t even remember the next morning. This is not the time nor place to have a deep conversation. No matter how loud the music, you can’t pretend it didn’t happen. We often rushed into “relationships” in junior high, and we can tell today that those were not our finest moments in love. My first boyfriend in 8th grade told me he loved me the day we starting “dating.” Instead, I think we should give meaning to the “3 deadly words,” as I quickly learned in this three-week relationship.  Take it one day at a time so both of you are on the same page. Your romance will surely blossom with more depth than handholding in the hallway before the bell rings if we don’t rush into the label, as we were guilty of back in the day.
 
So maybe we haven’t matured as much as we thought. It’s those little things we collegiettes easily get caught up in when we’re crushing. I know I’m not expert—I’m guilty of these awkward encounters and slip-ups too. At the same time, the flighty schoolgirl crushes back in my early teens were always the most exciting. The little waves in the hallways and Instant Message conversations always turned around my day. I think we should revel in those happy moments in college as well. The walks to class, casual texting conversations, and bursts of excitement when he sees you in your cutest outfit on Saturday night are just as precious as they were some seven years ago. Don’t be afraid to revel in the small joys of crushing. After all, it is the most blissful in our romance adventures at DePauw!