Then And Now

I attended my 30th high school reunion a few weeks back and although I was a little apprehensive, I ended up having a blast! My hubs was such a good sport. (Yes, I dragged him along!) He never looked bored and only started hinting about leaving around 11:00 p.m. Of course, I successfully dragged out our departure until 11:45 p.m., but he humored me.

Something I think that enhanced the entire event was that one member of my graduating class took it upon himself to create a Facebook group several months before the big weekend. My classmates were all able to reconnect online beforehand, which was cool. We learned where everybody had ended up, and what sorts of careers we’d all grown up to achieve. Who had kids, no kids… grandkids!! (Talk about freakin’ me out!) When we finally met in real life, our conversations were all that much richer and more in-depth. By the end of the night, my face and jaw ached from laughing and talking so much.

Attending this monumental event has caused me to reflect on those ol' high school days. And since I’m in the midst of witnessing the high school (and college) days of my own kids, I noted some interesting similarities and differences between high school "then and now."

One thing that hasn’t changed much is fashion. I’m not talking about how the 80's leg warmers/leggings look has come full circle, but rather the whole lookalike thing. When I was in high school, we all pretty much dressed alike. Or tried to. Heaven forbid we weren’t wearing the right jeans, or our hair wasn’t feathered into Farrah-Fawcett-like fluffiness. High schoolers today are still doing that. Not the Farrah Fawcett thing, but the matching hair and clothing styles. Even the radical fringe tries to look like the rest of the radical fringe. I wonder if this all ties into a budding need to feel accepted?

In some cool ways, however, high school has evolved from my era. One significant difference I’ve noticed is in the clique thing. Now hang on, I know cliques still exist! But they’ve kind of morphed somewhat—in a good way.

After discussing this topic with some friends, I know not everyone will be able to relate to this, but where I grew up, clique lines were rarely crossed. There was no way a jock would’ve participated in marching band. Or that a band kid could be elected Homecoming King. Only the drama kids did drama, and nerds could never be “cool.” And while we were aware of the students with special needs, there weren’t many opportunities for interaction.

At the reunion, I met some great people I'd graduated with but had never formally met before. These were people I recognized from the old high school hallways, but our paths hadn't really crossed. This was because there wasn’t any real overlap of cliques. But there is now. At least at my teens’ high school, which is equally as large as the one I attended. Today, there is a melding of cliques and groups and I think it’s awesome.

Last spring I attended our local high school musical, Fame, where I listened to the melodic solos of a varsity soccer player who had a main part. I watched a non-jock, non-band choir kid get elected Homecoming King, and I was brought to tears by the student body's thunderous whoops and applause during the graduation ceremony, as their fellow special needs classmates went up to receive their diplomas.

Some members of my Class of '80 had to wait 30 years to get to know people from different cliques and friend groups, but now it happens all the time. How great is that?! Sure, there’s negative stuff influencing our teens today. But there’s good stuff too. Just wanted to point some of it out.

Image by:  Conspirator


Susan R. Mills said...

I agree. The whole clique thing isn't the same as it was when I was in high school. It seems like more kids are accepting of those who are a little different than them. I think it's great.

Heidi Willis said...

Sounds like you had a great time! I've put off attending any of my reunions, but I've reconnected with a lot of people on facebook.

You are so right on the clique thing, too. Also, I noticed kids now don't stick in their gender-specific groups as much. It used to be, at least where I went, that girls were friends with girls and boys with boys and you crossed groups to date. Now, they're all friends in such a casual way!

Fun to go back and look at how things are different, and yet how some things never change!