For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Jun 10 2015
by La'Kay Hodge

12 Reasons High School Was Nothing Like "High School Musical" (And 5 Reasons Why It Was)

By La'Kay Hodge - Jun 10 2015

When "High School Musical" came out I was excited for two reasons: 1) I have a not-so-secret obsession with musicals and 2) my future high school’s mascot was the wildcats. Fast forward to high school and you can imagine my disappointment when there were no impromptu dance numbers or singing my feelings out. There’s still hope left, however, because my graduation isn’t until next week. If our valedictorian doesn’t make a “High School Musical” reference, I will be sorely disappointed and I’ll have no choice other than to shout one out myself. So here’s a list of reasons why high school was nothing like I imagined (or wanted) it to be.

1. Technology

Flip phones may have been in style in 2006, but in my generation, iPhones outnumber every other cellphone, hands down.

2. The school disciplinary system

Is detention even still a thing?

3. Sharpay’s name

Personally, as someone with a unique name, it surprised me that nobody ever commented on the fact that Sharpay’s name is spelled and sounds almost exactly like a permanent marker brand. I mean, kids can be ruthless.

4. Extracurricular activities

The whole school did not have a breakdown if you joined more than one activity. In fact, you are usually encouraged to be a “well-rounded” student.

5. Dress code

They can wear hats?


6. Dress code continued

Speaking of fashion, nobody in our school dressed this nicely. Think less Prada, Versace and McQueen and more Uggs, Adidas and Forever 21.

7. Unrealistic class breaks

Somehow, Troy and Gabriella had time to go to a rooftop garden in between classes and flirt with each other. Meanwhile I can’t go to the bathroom between classes without being late.

8. Cheerleader stereotypes

Cheerleaders are not a separate species and they don’t speak a special language. For the most part, they’re just like everyone else.

9. Chad and his basketball

Why is Chad always toting around a basketball? If hats weren’t allowed, I can’t imagine how the principal would have reacted to this.

So many screenshots of just Chad and his basketball. #RelationshipGoals

10. Zeke’s baking

Everyone had a breakdown over Zeke’s baking, but in reality, if someone found out you had food, suddenly they were your best friend.

11. The sports

At my high school — and I suspect many other American high schools — basketball was not the biggest sport. Football was the sport that got the most attention (and the most money).

12. The arts

Normally, there is very little funding for the arts in high school. Over the course of those four years, my school held exactly two musicals and people only attended them to get out of first block. My high school also lacked an auditorium; therefore, there was no piano and our stage was in the gym.

On the other hand, there were a few ways that high school was similar to “High School Musical.”

1. Oblivious parents

In which Troy embodies the “I’m not giving up my dream. I’m giving up yours, dad” trope.

2. Teachers versus coaches

The struggle between the teachers and the coaches is real. I’ve never seen my teachers painfully hold back comments like when athletes are let out two hours early for a game.

3. That weird couple

I remember when I used to laugh at that weird couple from auditions and now I realize they’re the most realistic people in the whole movie.

4. The countdown to summer

We’ve all done the summer countdown at least once.

5. An influentual high school experience

No matter what group you were a part of, what classes you took or what friends you made, high school shaped us all. We’ll have these memories for the rest of our lives and it is a bittersweet ending.

As Gabriella’s mom said, “High school feels like the most important thing in the world when you’re in it, but that changes.” We have new beginnings to look forward to, new chapters to write and even though high school was nothing like a Disney Channel musical, it was just as transformative an experience.

Lead Image Credit: Disney Channel, Salty Pictures and First Street Films

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La'Kay Hodge - New York University

La'Kay Hodge is a freshman at New York University who will be spending her first year in London! She is a gym enthusiast, coffee addict and massive nerd. Follow her on Twitter @LaKayHodge!

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