High School, the Time of Our Lives

Popularity isn't as glorious as it may seem

"Gossip is the devil's radio." -George Harrison

That one there, that's Karen Smith. She is one of the dumbest girls you will ever meet. Damien sat next to her in English last year.” Said Janess. “She asked me how to spell orange.” Responded Damian. We’ve all heard this quote from the movie, “Mean Girls”. The same type of conflicts happen in High School today. It all starts off with gossip. Everyone gossips but when is it just too far and too much? There is no problem in having an opinion on someone but if all you ever talk about are other people and the negative things about them what is that going to say about yourself? Everyone has done this and those actions have been occurring for decades. In the book "The Great Gatsby" many characters show the same habits. But why? What are the benefits of gossip and rumors? Many people in High School do it for the attention, the social status, or just to stir up some drama. Just like the West and East Egg. Since the 1920's I don't think our society has come that far. In mean girls Cady, the new girl, doesn’t know anyone in her new school and the popular girls take her in to make her one of them. In High School it seems like everything you need is a high social status. But is it worth it? In Cady’s situation she finds out that it doesn’t have the benefits she thought it would. Just like the book “The Great Gatsby" it shows the negatives of having this status and how it turns out not to be as great as it seems to be. It can lead to drama, lies, bad reputations, and failure.

"A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent." -William Blake

On average, people lie at least once during a 10-minute conversation. Think about this for a second, how many conversations do you have in one day? Now that’s a lot of lies in a course of 24 hours. But what’s the point of the lies? Maybe it’s to keep you looking more interesting or to get more information out of someone. But without lies we would have nothing to keep us entertained. What would we do without it in our lives? We would go mad. But is it ever too much? In a conversation you may slip and stretch the truth just to make it a bit more interesting but it’s no big deal. Who is it going to hurt? But what happens if one night you go to a party with your friends and you walk in and everyone is smoking marijuana. Then one guy looks up and says, “Wanna hit? Don’t be gay just take one. What’s it gonna do to ya?” Now everyone is watching. You know you shouldn’t because you have volleyball tomorrow and drugs are no tolerance. But everyone’s eyes are beating down on you. What are they going to think of you if you don’t do it with them? So you take a hit, no big deal. It was just one nothing’s going to happen. The next morning you get to practice and your coach calls you over. He says, “I heard that some illegal acts occurred last night at the party you were at. Were you involved in any of this?” Quickly you respond, “No, of course not. Drugs are no tolerance.” He responds with, “Good, that’s what I thought. But just to make sure we will have to do a drug test.” What do you do now? All you wanted was to look cool at the party. And you’ve already lied to your coach. Your athletic career is over. This is just like when Tom Buchanan tells George Wilson that Gatsby’s car was his. After Wilson asks Tom about the old car that he has and asked when he could buy it off of him, Tom says, “How do you like this one? I bought it last week.” Later that night, the car that Tom was driving in earlier that evening, hit Myrtle Wilson and fled the accident without even stopping to see if she was alright. Later to find out that she had died. This white lie that Tom made just to look more powerful and important in front of Wilson almost ruined his reputation. All to look more significant in front of one poor man.

"Fake is the lastest trend and everyone seems to be in style!" -Unknown

Think about the popular kids in your grade. What are they like? Smart, sweet, kind-hearted, and respectful; or selfish, careless, fake, and rude? Most of you would choose the second answer. So why would anyone want to be like them? Maybe because they portray themselves as someone who you want to be friends with, and who have everything that you’ve ever wanted. But do you know what’s really hiding behind that wall? Daisy Buchanan dreamed of having the perfect life and high class reputation when she grew up and married ever since she was a little girl. Finally she married a man who could give it to her. Her life looks picture perfect from the outside world with her daughter and her successful husband living in East Egg. The flawless family, but from the inside it’s just the opposite. While Nick is at dinner with the Buchanan’s and Jordan, Tom and Daisy leave the table and go to the kitchen for a phone call. Nick becomes confused, so Jordan asks, “You mean to say you don’t know? ... Tom’s got some woman in New York.” Nick has known Daisy tries to hide the imperfections in her life, but he never knew Tom would do something so immorally wrong to his wife. Later that night Daisy tells Nick the stories of how Tom has not been there for her or their daughter. She has no happiness in her life but can’t let anyone outside of her friends know or else it could jeopardize her reputation. But what’s more important, your happiness or the outlook of what others have on you? In High School the perfect reputation is your number one goal. You will do anything to get there, even destroy yourself. Just for people to see you as a higher power. 10 years from now are you really going to remember how cool and popular you were in high school? Will it really matter? Hurting ourselves is not worth being popular in High School. People should like you for who you really are. Not the lies you hide behind.

"Reputations rise and fall almost as regularly as the tides." -Peter Benchley

As a final point, High School is an important life mark in our lives. You may meet people and decisions that will affect the rest of your lives, in positive and negative ways. But when you look back would you rather remember having friends that you cared about, loved and trusted and feel accomplished with the things you did; or the drama, lies, and the hurt? Your reputation may seem like everything in the moment but all of the negative effects to reach a high social status are not what you want to remember.

By: Maddy Gustafson