16 Things That Happen In High School Movies And TV Shows But Never IRL

I don’t know about you all, but personally, I loved high school. I loved standing by my locker (conveniently located right by my crush so I could gaze at him while I spent forty-five minutes pawing around for my geometry textbook). I loved spending every one of the eight hours I was in school walking around the halls and having conversations with my friends. And, most of all, I loved my highly exclusive clique that also had a name–the Beady Eyes And Meaty Thighs Squad.

Oh. Sorry. Actually, none of that–the crush-adjacent locker, walking around school hallways for hours at a time, and having an elite, aptly-named clique–was actually a part of my high school experience because, as it just so happens,  I didn’t go to high school in a movie. You see, I’ve been re-watching a lot of high school movies lately (I just got HBOGo and, what, am I just supposed to not watch 10 Things I Hate About You and Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen?), and while most of them are objectively great, they’ve reminded me that Hollywood has some…weird ideas about what actually goes on in high school. Check out these things that always seem to happen in high school movies and TV shows but, like, never in actual high school:

1. You have unlimited time to just…prowl around the halls.


Where are you walking? Nobody knows. Nobody cares. You just…walk. And talk.


2. And, if you do have class, it’s just a homeroom period with a kindly teacher who lets you do whatever you want.


So nice!


3. …Until they give you a pop quiz.


Teachers in movies *love* giving pop quizzes. Love it.


4. You MIGHT have an English class every now and then, but that’s only so your teacher can write a quote from Hamlet on the chalkboard and circle it a bunch of time, so viewers know that it’s relevant to your story arc.




5. Speaking of: Chalkboards. Do any real schools actually have them anymore?


I don’t think s0–not that you’d know that from movies, though.


6. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter, because most of the time, you just stand in front of your locker.


You open it. Look inside for a while. Slam it shut. Repeat.


7. Or do group projects (always assigned with your crush and nemesis, for the sake of dramatic tension):



And you never actually get a grade for it, too.


8. Every clique has a name.


The Pink Ladies. The T-Birds. The Plastics. Even if you tried to do this IRL, it…would not happen.


9. And if you stray from the clique, even just a little bit, the whole school falls into disorder.


Nobody actually cares *that* much.


10. Popular girls are always simply itching to give less-popular girls makeovers.


Does this ever happen? Really and truly?


11. Which basically involves putting down your hair, straightening it, and taking off your glasses.


Ah, yes. Conventional standards of beauty!


12. Not that it matters anyway. Because everyone in your high school is already a gorgeous, genetically #blessed 30-year-old.




13. In gorgeous, perfectly of-the-moment clothes.


Come on.


14. The drama kids are, somehow, the people who run the school.


As a former drama kid myself, I can assure that this is…NOT the case.


15. Prom will ~~change ur life~~


It won’t.


16. Everyone only applies to, like, two or three big-name colleges.


Like, Yale, Harvard, and maybe NYU or something as a safety school. And gets into all of them. If only that were the case, right?

Did I forget any weird things that happen in movies but never IRL? Do you feel like some of these things actually do happen in high school? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.


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