Tuesday, June 28, 2005

High School Life.

Since I've been listening to music from my high school days, I've been thinking about this adolescent milieu. Very cliquey, everything is about popularity, the brightest are typically shunned, the bully is given respect and getting laid is the top priority for most (men at least). Some in high school desperately pine for love, attention, success.

As I look around my work environment and others, I can't help but think that nothing has changed. Cliques abound, popular people tend to do well, the smart guys are the subject of scorn, intimidating people are respected and, yes, sex still is a top priority for most. Many adults also are swimming in despair, hoping for to find Mr. or Mrs. Right, waiting for their fifteen minutes of fame.

Is it just me, or are we all doomed to live in the hell that is known as high school for the rest of our lives? Do our social constructs mirror the lowest common denominator?


Blogger dreadcow said...

Good post!

I was once asked "if you could go back to high school with what you know now, would you?" In other words, I'd go back into the body of a 17 year old but hold onto everything I know.

Hell yes! I'd be able to get away with so much that I never dared to do back in the day. And I'd be a total slut. Ha!!

I've never been a clique person. I was a jock who hung out with the skaters, band geeks, whoever. I didn't care what people thought about me and a lot of people respected that. I stayed the same way in college and in the working world, I was never the center of a rumor mill. I distance myself from people like that as much as possible.

As far as Army life goes... you have to watch your comrade's back, no matter how much you hate him. We don't have cliques because we get them forced out of us. Getting laid is still a priority though. Unless you're me, who is stuck in the pool of despair that you alluded to.

I do think we're doomed to live the rest of our lives with that high school mentality. I'm already realizing that when I go back to being a civilian it's going to be a weird adjustment. I just refuse to associate with the high school mentality... let's hope I can stay that way.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Lily said...

Playing devils advocate here but what is wrong with a clique? I have two very close friends at work. We enjoy each other's company, we joke we laugh we has serious conversations, and we have been called a clique by two other people in the office.

If your are a mathlete who hangs out with a deadhead and a jock you are technically a clique.

We all have a small circle of people with are close with, the only problem I see is if you refuse associate with those in your outer circles as well.

1:34 PM  
Blogger RT said...

Very interesting Vavoom. You're making me think on this one, lol. I like that.

OK, this is just off the cuff, but if you think about it, why wouldn't our adult lives be much like high school? Jr high, high school, college... These are the places where we learned how to socialize. Unless you see a need to break that cycle, why would you? I understand the cliques and how people feel a need to belong to one.

What is a clique? A close circle of friends. People you feel comfortable with. Is that a bad thing?

What's popular? Feeling appreciated? Who doesn't like that? It's only when people who don't even know you, or even bother to try and get to know you, yet still sing your praises that it gets uncomfortable. I think a lot of people, after leaving school, start to become more secure with themselves and the superficialness of "being popular" losses it's appeal. Of course, you do have your exceptions, as with anything.

Being a bully just isn't nice in any world. I never respected a bully, I just made sure to keep out of their way so I didn't get my ass kicked.

And as for sex, hey, I'm still looking for that myself, so...

Nah, I think the main reason people are swimming in despair as adults is because they just haven't figured out what they want, or how to get it. They concentrate too much on what others tell them they should want... And that'll just drive you insane.

2:04 PM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

I do know that if I went back to my high school days, they would be very different but it is those days that make me who I am. I'm a person that appreciates all around me and I'll always see most of the things around me with child-like wonder.

Cliques are interesting. We have them at work. The 'born again' clique, the golf clique and pretty much one for everything... there is even one for people that bring gum to work (even though I think they are more mafia-esque.) They will always exist but I find myself at ease working around them. You can even create an anti-clique clique. Fight conformity.

5:43 PM  
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Considering that it is more than double digit years since I left highschool (I do not want to even begin to figure the math out, it will depress me), I can tell you that life does get better. Priorities change, as do values and interests. Basically, I am still what many would call a fair thinking, fairly liberal person, although some of my stances on issues has tightened up, I must say.

Each stage of life has its own issues.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Moose said...

I didn't think high school was that bad, but I think that was because I realized that there wasn't anything there that would premanently hurt me. Well, I guess if something heavy fell on me, it could cause problems, but other than that...

6:59 PM  
Blogger GSR said...

Vavoom, great post! I was a social misfit in High School (class of '79)but shortly thereafter, blossomed and probably passed by most of the high school "cool crowd" in both my personal life and career. In the many jobs and companies I've worked for I still find the high school "cool crowd" but now they're lamenting about their crappy jobs and mundane lives...

7:36 PM  
Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

People on ludes should not drive!

7:42 PM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...


Cliques are everywhere, even in the adult world. Some have pointed out that there is nothing wrong with having a circle of friends. True. The problem is when one group is given preferential treatment from those in power.

I teach in two different buildings in my school district. They both have cliques. The "popular" people criticize other groups and get special treatment such as always being the ones to go on incentive day trips while the rest stay behind. The "popular" people get scheduled for the same lunch shift, so they can be together. They get the shortest duties, and the fewest duties. We all know what goes on from their ass-kissing, but they pretend to be oblivious.

I have also worked for a state agency for 5 years, and the same thing went on there. For example, the "popular" people took longer breaks and weren't reprimanded. If they came in after the sign-in book had been stowed away after 8:00 am, their friend the secretary got out the book and let them sign in with a time before 8:00.

It's everywhere. Just get your own little group, and forget about those "popular" people who have no life if they don't have the others to criticize.

7:44 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Vavoom: I can only conclude you're having a bad day.

Of course, I don't know you, but I do know how you project yourself in your writings. Is this the same person who posted an "Army of One" a few days ago?

My point. You're totally in charge of where you're headed based on some of your other posts (“A Risky Move”). High school is the past, and while there are lessons to be learned from then, those that are “doomed to live in the hell” are those that believe that the "good times" were always in the past. That’s not you.

The "good times" are those that we haven’t yet experienced. That’s a tough concept for many, but worth the anticipation. And, while some of it may resemble the high school cliques, it's not a life-defining issue if you don’t belong.

Great post.

P.S. Fast Times is one of my favorite movies!

12:14 AM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

Guys: Interesting comments here. I should have been more specific with my language. Cliques can be okay, but exclusivity and privilege is problematic.

Fred: No, actually today was a good day. This wasn't really intended as a "woe is me" sort of post. Rather, I was pointing out that even as adults, we still may experience many of the same social dynamics that are all too common in high school. No boo hoo stuff going on over on my end! (Well, not today at least.)

Still, I appreciate all of the comments that show up on Tedrow Drive. All of you constitute an anonymous whispering gallery of good vibes.

12:44 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I'm with the others, great post, Vavoom. Except for I could on go for day's about this. I might as well. I haven't done a super long, what-the-hell-was-I-babbling-about comment-in-a-while.

You've already answered, but I was gonna first reply to the other's and say that when you said clique I don't think you meant a close group of friends. That's very different from a clique. A close group of friend's is just that, whereas I would like to think of a clique more like a group of people who share the same interests, especially in high school and think that for whatever reason their interests are more interesting than the the other cliques. The jocks think the musician's are stupid and vise versa. When in reality, non are stupid, it's just some futile state of mind we get all caught up in. And as Lily said, not being able to see outside that circle is where it's then a problem. That in itself is what I think forms a clique.

I didn't like high school. The reason, I got picked on and was called four eyes. Not really, my vision's 20/20. Anyhow, cliques were the prime reason. I talked to the jocks, I talked to the thugs and the nerds, I talked to anyone who wanted to talk. I used to hear it all. They all talked about each other. If asked why, they had no concrete answer.

I'm glad I never fell into these so called cliques, because to this day I am blessed with friends. I have not a single enemy.

I left school towards the end of my softmore year and went to an alternative school. I didn't tell anyone, I just left. I run into people that 'til this day say, "why'd you drop-out?" I didn't drop-out. I was on a waiting list for months and months. I had to call everyday. Those who called got in, those who didn't waited longer. I graduted with my class. I left the people, not the school.

Today things are still the same. Here at work there are cliques or more like alliances (the same but different. You know?). But I get along with every single person in here. They've asked me to be a supervisor, but I've turned it down. I don't want to play mommy to a bunch of adults that didn't learn from their high school experiences.

In all reality, I think, yes, we are stuck in this hell that is known as high school for the rest of our lives. Maybe these people still caught up in cliques are trying to compensate for the things they didn't have in high school?

P.S. I'm never growing up.

I don't know if I even said anything in all that blabber, but I think I did.

2:37 AM  
Blogger Rat said...

Oh my god. Interesting post + Interesting comments !! What a blog :) Will swing by again soon.

2:48 AM  
Blogger Skewedview said...

It has been several years since my high school days, for that matter a long time since I've been in any school setting, but I can see where you are coming from. I think that as adults we deal with the same emotions and feelings about situations around us, the difference being we generally call it something else. Office politics. People's personal agendas. Those sort of things. The emphasis has changed from merely being popular to being powerful, improving our status or station in life.

I learned early on that I wasn't going to play the game. I was going to be myself and either you liked me or not, but I wasn't going to pretend to be somebody I wasn't. Oh, not to the point of being rude or not having some tact and manners. Having said that, I realize there is a level of compromise in almost everything, just don't get bogged down in it.

I think that getting married, having a family and prioritizing my goals has helped me tremendously throughout the years. I look back on my school days with a matter of fact attitude, because I have been able to move forward and establish those positive things in life that bring joy.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So true. The thing that got me through high school were the constant promises that "life won't be like this forever" and "these things won't matter once you're in college". What a blow when I realized that it actually does matter whether you're popular and clothes do make the man.

3:42 AM  

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