Regina George Did Not Go To My High School

Before I entered high school, I imagined a “High School Musical” environment, with students declaring their long life passions while cartwheeling across lunchroom tables. I envisioned entering a jungle infested world, like in “Mean Girls”, where everyone hated one another.

Paramount Pictures Prior to high school, my only reference to know what to expect came from movies and TV shows; in hindsight, it was only an exaggerated portrayal of the high school experience. Movies and TV shows based on high school typically have a blonde skinny girl as “the mean girl”, a brooding athletic boy as “the jock/ love interest”, a side character who fiercely supports the protagonist as “the best friend”, and the main character who is not popular and not seen as attractive until they commit a brave act as “the hero of the story”. Though there are some truths with the depiction of high school in media, it is often warped, exaggerated, and influenced by stereotypes.

Students don't get shoved into lockers because they looked at someone funny (my school didn't even have lockers), and school dances are not filled with sex-crazed teenagers spiking the punch bowl. In reality, it’s a bunch of 16 and 17-year-olds flailing their limbs trying to do the electric slide. Fox 21 Television Studios

High school is not a hierarchy system with one mean girl controlling the entire student body or one “nerdy” student that gets picked on just because they’re smart. Even though students can have similar behavioral traits as shown in high school movies or TV shows, it does not encompass their whole personality. 

High school students are also not perfect models or look like they’re in their mid-20s. For example, “13 Reasons Why” and “Riverdale” are highly popular TV shows that are supposedly representing high school students. However, all the actors are in their mid-20s with abs and flawless skin. I have just started my freshman year of college and yet, I still look 15 years old; but I’m supposed to believe that Ross Butler, a 29-year-old who stars in both shows, is 17 years old. While I understand these are actors who are simply playing a role, it would be beneficial to cast actors that are close in age to the target audience so young people can better relate Netflix

In my high school experience, high school students were involved in extracurriculars, took multiple AP/dual enrollment courses, had hundreds of community service hours, and were genuine to one another. Obviously, it is not all rainbows and sunshine or vice versa; it's a balance of both, which makes sense because high school is the time where people grow and develop.