From what I can tell, there seems to be a great division among people as to whether or not they “enjoyed” high school. Sure, it was an easier time for most of us. Our level of responsibility was pretty low for the most part. At least compared to that which we experience in adulthood. Some people think it was the best time of their lives. And others do not feel that way. Some of us were thrilled to get out of there, while others longed for that sense of community once again. Maybe you thought college or university was better than high school. Or maybe you think being an adult and being able to make your own decisions is the ultimate. Whatever your viewpoint is, it seems that high school doesn’t ever really end.
The players and the names change, but the situations remain the same. While you read this, think about your social circle or your co-workers. I would bet that you can identify someone in a stereotypical manner. The popular person, the jock or even the nerd. Even as adults we can compare someone we know now to someone we went to high school with. I don’t think that we should qualify our friends and coworkers in a possible negative way, but it helps to formulate this idea that we are just living an alternate version of our high school. Or maybe someone else’s version of high school if you want to think of it that way.
High school is largely competitive in one way or another. If you’re into some kind of extra-curricular activity, you strive to be the best in it. If you’re on a sports team, you’re going to give it your all so you can be the best person on the team. But life isn’t any different, I don’t think. If you take a pool of people who are in the same field as you, and there is a really great job available, chances are several of your “friends” will apply. And since you’re all vying for the same job, it’s bound to start some rumours and cattiness. When is her interview? Why did he get an interview? You think she could actually do the job? It’s no different than high school. I’m not saying it’s right, or even good. But I know it happens.
Maybe we are more careful with what we say as we understand the consequences in a better way, but the fact is it’s no different. I used to have a co-worker who wasn’t a great dresser. She would wear somewhat inappropriate attire to the office. Sometimes it was too casual. Sometimes it would be too revealing. No matter what she wore, someone in the office would make a comment about it. Maybe the difference is that we are adults and should know that this type of behaviour isn’t acceptable. Maybe there’s a reason for her to dress so poorly? And we should be less judgmental. But showing compassion didn’t seem to be an option. And the comments were still made.
That’s just looking at a professional environment, and a somewhat tame example. How many of you have friends who gossip about other friends behind their backs? Or who concern themselves about how many guys a female friend has slept with? Judging her for some reason. Maybe it’s jealousy? Maybe it’s their own hang-ups. Honestly, when I picture friends having this kind of issue, I think of any one of the Real Housewives series. Maybe those have more wine glass throwing, but you get the point. These “cliques” follow us around well into adulthood.
So why do we perpetuate our high school days over and over again? My theory is because people start to show their personalities in their teens. We get a taste of freedom and we start to see the people we want to become. Some of us had poor upbringings and the way to make it better for ourselves, is to make someone else feel worse. That’s where the bullies come in. And can a leopard really change his spots? I’d like to hope so, but sometimes it can take 20 or 30 years before we realize that we’re broken inside and need to find a way out. I will leave you with a song that I think sums it all up.