Ninth Grade Going Along
By AMELIA BAUMANN
Now, where you sit in the cafeteria is crucial because you got everybody there. You got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, JV jocks, Asian nerds, cool Asians, varsity jocks, unfriendly black hotties, girls who eat their feelings, girls who don’t eat anything, desperate wannabes, burnouts, sexually active band geeks, the greatest people you will ever meet and the worst. – “Mean Girls” 2004
Up until my first day of ninth grade, my idea of high school consisted of the above. How terrifying. With no prior experience at Jericho High School, or any high school for that matter, I expected nothing short of what I saw on television. With my extensive knowledge of “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide” and “Zoey 101,” I embarked into ninth grade, confident, courageous, and careful to avoid any senior I encountered. Okay, I probably shouldn’t have built my expectations around Nickelodeon’s suburban-set comedies. Still, I’ve been caught quite a bit off guard.
Where is the ponytail-clad cheerleader with the obnoxiously perfect single, and the skateboarder with the dragging voice and the sagging pants? Shouldn’t there be a mystery meat lunch to beware of and a menacing gym teacher with an affinity for brutal dodgeball games? I’m not saying that these stereotypes are fun, per se, but I was under the impression that they came with the order. What is a burger with no fries and shake? And a high school without a chubby bully trying to steal lunch money?
This is not where I expected the next four years to play out. Without the “being-stuffed-into-lockers” and the fear of Freshman Friday, what is my high school experience turning out to be? A time of everlasting friendships and joyful memories?
Maybe it is time to accept the facts. High school is not what I imagined it to be. But when you think about it… what’s more interesting than making it up as you go along?