By Hannah Orenstein
On a good day, high school can feel straight out of a movie: imagine school spirit and tons of friends, High School Musical-style. And on a bad day, high school can feel straight out of a very different movie: imagine drama, deceit, and one very dangerous bus, Mean Girls-style. We went straight to the source -- we asked 150 high school girls across the country to hear the best and worst parts of high school.
Clubs and Extra-curriculars
High school life doesn't end when the final bell rings. Some of the best experiences take place right after school, during club meetings, sports practices, and rehearsals.
“Because I go to a small school, I am allowed to participate in such a broad range of activities. Everyone has the opportunity to play sports, join clubs, and participate in productions.” –- Caroline, senior at First Baptist Academy in Dallas, TX
“I enjoy all of the clubs! Being in dance club is so much fun.” -– Hannah Nicole, junior at Highland Park High School in Highland, IL
After years of rigid rules, high school can be a breath of fresh air. Especially for freshmen, high school feels like a whole new world.
“In elementary school and middle school, we were treated like children, having to sit with teachers and always be supervised. Now it's like we've stepped out of the nest and into the real world! We can finally take care of ourselves, but still with enough supervision to not get out of hand.” –- Carson, freshman at Neville High School in Monroe, LA
“[I love] the freedom to wear tanks and flip flops, use my phone in between classes, take classes when I want them, talk without getting yelled at, and just the looseness from teachers!” –- Shaniqua, freshman at Winder-Barrow High School in Winder, GA
A Little Help From Adults... While It Lasts
Even though high school brings a new world of independence, students still cherish not being too grown up quite yet.
“My favorite part about being in high school is that I don't have to buy my own food, finance my own car, or pay rent -- it's nice to have free things while it lasts.” –- Elizabeth, senior at Viewmont High School in Bountiful, UT
“I know most of my teachers have my back and will bend over backwards to help me. I'm worried that once I go to a university, this will not be the case.” –- Taylor, senior at Seaholm High School in Birmingham, MI
The quintessential high school experience involves football players, cheerleaders, your school's mascot, and lots of spirit –- and tons of high-schoolers say that sort of fun is the best part of school.
“Football games are the most fun part about being in high school. Everyone goes. You could be sitting next to the person you typically dislike most, but for that game, wouldn't mind them for the time being. Football sort of unites the whole school because we root for our team, whether we suck or not.” –- Leslie Anne, senior at Sierra Vista High School in Las Vegas, NV
“I absolutely love spirit week for homecoming! I love seeing everyone dress up in crazy outfits each day and all the classes compete in fun games.” –- Julia, senior at HP Baldwin High School in Wailuku, HI
High school is where you make some of your best friends for life! Even if homework can be a drag sometimes, school is worth it when you get to see your friends in class.
“[I like] knowing that when I go to school I'll see all my friends. We're all in one place right now and in a little while we could be on totally separate coasts!” -– Stephanie, senior at Lynn English High School in Lynn, MA
“[My favorite part of high school] are the incredible friendships and unbreakable bonds that form throughout the year.” -– Jessica, freshman at Boone High School in Orlando, FL
Yes, it is possible to enjoy school for the academics! Students are especially appreciative of upper-level classes, like AP and IB curricula.
“[I like] AP English and AP Euro.” -– Kristina, junior at Hampton High School in Allison Park, PA
“Being in International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement gives me the opportunity to take challenging classes that can transfer to college credit. I have great teachers in these classes and really feel that my knowledge is expanding.” -– Robin, senior at Yosemite High School in Oakhurst, CA