If you take the time to add up exactly how long teenagers will sit at a desk and be stuffed with facts that aid their calculus abilities or knowledge on World War II, it may surprise you.

Roughly 5,000 hours are devoted to a teenager’s high school career: given that I have already accumulated at least 3,740 hours as a rising senior, I’m a bit of an expert in the daily life of a high schooler.

Parents, teachers, relatives, coaches, and many more outsiders may believe they have the inside scoop on the life of a 15 year old in algebra. After all, they’ve been there before, haven’t they?

But the fact of the matter is times are changing faster than ever! We’ve discovered four times more about technology in the past 70 years than the entire human history combined.

Mobile apps are being launched to give a student the nutrition info on what’s for lunch, and an opportunity to give suggestions. Diplomas are being granted as competency-based certifications (students graduate when they master material, not for spending a certain amount of time in school).

So, what are the classrooms really like in this day and age? I’m here to reveal exactly what it means to inhabit the title of a ‘high schooler’.

First, it’s important to look at what the media has portrayed the institution to be.

Cliques that are easily labeled run the school with letterman jackets. Kids are slammed against lockers and bullied openly, everyone graduates, and everyone knows each other.

None of these are accurate in the slightest.

Cliques are far and few between, and not so easy to name. There may be a few popular football players, or some nerdy academic students, but this does not correlate to large groups of students that run the school.

From what I have seen, there are levels to popularity.

The students in very advanced classes have a set of people seen as ‘popular’, but none of these teens know the kids who fly by the seat of their pants.

There is a whole new set of kids that are well known at this level, who also have little to no knowledge of ‘popular nerds’ based on the fact that they never have classes together which would enable interaction.

The world of sports also holds certain individuals to a higher standard, as does the arts and theater groups.

Many of these kids take classes that have to do with how they spend their time outside of school: someone who loves the arts will only take electives that encompass music, theater, or art classes which limits who they know.

It is also important to note that ‘popular’ rarely holds a connection to being well-liked. Many popular kids are notorious for their rudeness: ‘popularity’ in high school means one is well known.

Despite what The Breakfast Club and High School Musical may show, boys do not run the schools, nor do they outnumber their female counterparts in any way. In fact, in 2016 11.6 million females were set to attend college right after high school, while only 8.8 million men aimed for the same stage.

There is also a large misconception that kids are always getting into fights during class time.

Although arguments may be had in the back of the gym during laps, many feuds start online. School is a constant breeding ground for viral videos, new Snapchats, Instagram posts, and more.

Kids begin relationships on these platforms, are harassed, embarrassed when secrets are exposed, and bullied through different apps.

These toxic aspects lead how high school is run: topics of conversation are more frequently on the party everyone was posting on their story, the birthday all the girls put on Instagram, or the rumors spread via text throughout school.

Something adults will be glad to hear is that the popular opinion that teenagers party, smoke, drink, and more because of high school is very false.

Rarely have I seen anyone smoking anything on school grounds: when I have, it was a lone student that was shortly caught by faculty. No one goes into bathrooms to smoke cigarettes, drug deals are rarely seen among students, and parties are far and few between.

Halloween, one of the most exciting times for kids to dress up and go to a party, held no promises for students in my area. No ragers were reported by anyone the next day!

In short, there are many misconceptions that the media and a parents’ personal perspective cling to. There are many more levels to the inner workings of a high school than one may think – and college is three times as complicated!

The most important fact to remember is that high school is what a teenager makes it: there will be good and bad in every experience, but it is up to the student to involve themselves in the aspects fit for them.

Ava Purcell

Ava Purcell

Teen Talk Blogger

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