Okay, I went to a pretty eclectic high school that defied a lot of typical American high school norms: We didn’t have cheerleaders, we didn’t have a football team, we didn’t have a dress code and we had art classes complete with nude models. It was a little wacky and artsy, but it was still high school and it still had the same ol’ high school drama.
So even though my school was a little offbeat, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a lot of unrealistic expectations about the high school experience. Teen TV shows and movies only amplified those expectations tenfold and made me think that there was some level of truth to it all. Fun fact: There usually wasn’t much truth to it at all. Here’s 7 TV shows and movies that will give you unrealistic expectations about high school.
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The Breakfast Club: People Are Really Serious About Their Labels
There are some truths about group dynamics in The Breakfast Club. But believe it or not, very few people go around calling themselves jocks and preps and nerds and outcasts in high school with a sense of pride or identity. And if they are, I wonder if they actually think that that makes them look cool because it sounds pretty cheesy to me.
She's All That: The Most Popular Guys Are The Hottest Ones And Are Super Involved With The School
Ha! As if. Freddie Prince Jr.'s character in She's All That really seemed to have it all, right? He was popular because he was hot, smart, sporty and a lady's man. Yeah, well, the most popular guys at my high school were usually spending their weekends hurting themselves on skateboards or having gigs with their bands or DJ collectives. And not all them were exactly babes...at all. Popularity is a weird monster that really doesn't depend as much on looks or alpha personas as much as movies and TV shows want you to believe.
Mean Girls: Being The Worst Is The Key To Popularity
Sure, some of the "popular" girls in high school are really mean. But plenty are perfectly nice. And honestly a lot of people who aren't very popular can be incredibly mean and unfriendly. To be frank, everyone should just stop worrying about popularity so much in the first place...but what's a high school movie without that being the focal point?
Daria: All Of Your Classmates Are Idiots Except For You Because You're Edgy And Cynical
I love MTV's classic cartoon Daria (you can watch it on Hulu so check it out). But this show really made it seem like being cynical outcasts meant that you were better and smarter than everyone else. Yeah, a lot of people you go to school with might suck, but you're not any better than they are by hating on them, especially if you don't really know most of them. You can miss out on great potential friendships by making assumptions about people before you really get to know them.
Saved By The Bell (And Every Other Show): Jocks Only Care About Sports And Nothing More
Look, lots of people play sports in high school. I played soccer and by no means would I have described myself as a "jock." Some people just happen to enjoy playing sports in high school and happen to be really good at it. That doesn't mean that it eats up their lives and that they have no other interests. Most of the people on my high school sports teams were also musicians or people who volunteered for charity organizations after school. And they're definitely not all dumb either. I have no idea why that stereotype is still prevalent. Some. People. Just. Like. To. Play. Sports.
Easy A: Everyone will know/care about your sex life
Sorry to break it to you, but unless there is some huge scandal any details of your sex life that manage to leak to the student body will probably be old news in a heartbeat. High school is like a 24 hour news cycle and whatever saturated the rumor mill yesterday is old news in a heartbeat. And frankly, nobody usually cares anyway. Seriously, of all the sex rumors that I encountered in high school, I only remember the were really taboo. Which brings us to...
Pretty Little Liars: Being Hot For Teacher Is Totally Cute!
Look, all I'm going to say is that if you--for some reason--end up hooking up with your teacher, chances are nobody will coo over it and think it is sweet and true love. Pretty Little Liars might make you think that the opposite is true but chances are that anybody with half a brain will think it is creepy.
What TV shows and movies gave you unrealistic expectations about high school? Were any a surprisingly realistic portrayal of your high school? Tell us in the comments!