How Hollywood Portrays High School vs. Reality

Sophie Jurion, Editor-in-Chief

Growing up watching movies like High School Musical on repeat, I expected high school to have crazy drama, everyone to look old, and okay, maybe I didn’t expect to spontaneously burst out in song and dance. But still, I had preconceived notions coming into high school.  

Let’s face it. Every incoming freshman has binged one out of the many high school dramas on Netflix the weekend before the first day of high school in hope to know what to expect or feel somewhat prepared. But now as a graduating senior at Seattle Prep, I’ve learned the many differences between high school portrayal on the big-screen and the true reality of high school. 

In movies or tv shows such as Mean Girls or Glee, the freshman or the transfer kid is typically met by a clique of mean girls or boys who bully or exclude everyone on campus. But coming in as a freshman at Prep, I was greeted by smiling classmates and friendly Peer Mentors at Panther Day. At least in my experience, everyone is kind, supportive, and accepts our differences and hobbies. I especially love how at Prep; it is cool to join clubs like One Love, Feminist Interest Group, Black Student Union, and even ironically the new Glee Club at Prep. With this mentality, students are active and embracing members of the Prep community. 

Another unrealistic fact is that most of the actors that play in these shows are in their twenties, not their teens. The characters that are supposed to be playing high schoolers are perfectly put together, but in reality, most of us high schoolers have worn braces, have eyebags, or may or may not have worn the same clothes from the day before due to pulling an all-nighter finishing our Econ Project sophomore year. Prep is truly an academically rigorous school, but the classes that challenge me, such as AP Lit senior year, are the classes that I know will stick with me through college and the rest of life.  

Not to shame on shows like Gossip Girl,” “Riverdale, and One Tree Hill, because believe me I love these shows, but the characters spend every day engulfed in drama. The truth however is that most Prep students spend their weeknights on homework, studying for tests, or going to sports and extracurricular activities after school.  

A tip for the incoming freshman: ignore the scenes in shows and movies of bullies shoving people in lockers or the throwing of Slurpies in Glee, because not only are they unrealistic, they cause students to blend in the shadows and hide their unique qualities that make the Prep community so special. While high school has its up and downs, believe me I’ve survived it, you should not be afraid to embrace this exciting new chapter of your life. President Hickey’s welcoming speech to us in the Healy Theater on the first day of school reminds me every day to keep my head up and to be open minded. Take every opportunity you can to try new things because you might end up loving it. As cheesy as it sounds, I love the saying by Wayne Gretzky: “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”