The Personality Spectrum of High Schoolers

“No one is perfect. We all just try to be.”

–  Nicola Morgan


Well, with less than fifteen minutes to spare, I’m adhering to my blogging schedule for this week. Note to self: never try to blog eight days in a row ever again.

Tonight I hope to lay out what I believe to be a “meter” of sorts to gauge high schoolers and their personality. There are a few problems with this—for one thing, I can’t create a meter on a blog. And for another, how in the world do you define “personality”? Teenagers are pretty much the definition of “unique,” and I realize there’s no single way to measure that (and thank goodness).

So, let me amend my topic: tonight, I’ll try to lay out a scale of how much a high schooler is—to quote the Scout Oath—morally straight. You know, a scale from the kids who barely show up, to the ones who panic if a party has more than forty people without proper supervision (meekly raises own hand).

Alright, here goes.

When it comes to defining the morality/integrity of a high schooler, my criteria is pretty straightforward: in my opinion, a morally straight person doesn’t drink, doesn’t do drugs, and keeps their romance life to a PG level (once again, I’m meekly raising my own hand here). Those are the biggies. Academic dishonesty has its place in line too, but that’s a bit too big of an issue for me to take on.

So, it gets simple from here. Erm, maybe not. This is high school, after all. Since when was anything simple?

My scale, then, of morality in high school. It goes from 1 to 10, with 1 being a drug dealing drinker whose girlfriend is pregnant and 10 being the teenage version of Captain America. But stick with me…just because I make it sound all neat and tidy doesn’t mean it necessarily is.

1-      The ones who you’re surprised still bother attending school. They frequently cuss out teachers and administrators, have a permanent disrespectful attitude, have lost count of how many drugs they’ve tried, and yet, somehow they’re in a relationship.

3-      Still not the future leaders of America, but at least they’re set to graduate. They probably drink, do drugs and might not make all that smart decisions in their relationships, but they have enough of a level head to be a productive member of society. They probably get in trouble at school, but not enough to warrant legal action.

5-      Ah, now we get into more ambiguous territory. As expected, this student is exactly average. Gets decent grades, mostly stays out of trouble, but has a few scrapes with the rules here and there and might get the occasional referral. Still, they’re on a nice track to graduate and generally steer clear of illegal stuff.

7-      And the plot thickens still. Here we have the kid who gets good grades—A’s and B’s, most likely—and mostly avoids the referrals, but will do their fair share of drinking at the big high school parties. In my opinion, this is the trickiest level to judge, because these people are hardworking, likable, polite students who just make a personal choice to get drunk.

9-      The mostly good kid. Has never done drugs or been involved with them at all, is smart in their relationships, and hasn’t ever done any drinking. But, they won’t mind hanging around at parties where this goes on. They’re a good balance of a level-headed kid and someone who people aren’t afraid to party around. I would put most high schoolers in this category, and would definitely consider this “normal.”

10-  As you might have expected, I would put myself in this category. I’ve been to my fair share of parties, but none of have ever involved drinking, drugs, or anything crazier than Guitar Hero battles. Don’t get me wrong, some of these parties have had up to thirty or forty people there. And we just hang out. I know, you think I’m incredibly boring and an uptight little [insert expletive of choice] for not even wanting to be around drinking and the like. If I do something, it’s all out, and if I make it a point to avoid all things bad, I go all out to avoid said things. Please, judge me for my choices, call me whatever you like. I promise I can handle it. (Don’t worry, if it’s excessively vulgar I’ll put asterisks in the appropriate places before approving the comment).


Here’s the point I want to make, though I’m doing a poor job of getting it across. These categories I’ve listed are the way the world sees high schoolers. And yeah, most of it is probably true. You do have the full-on bad kids and the full-on uptight proper, no-fun kids, like me. But there are plenty of other factors involved to make people into 1’s, or 5’s, or 10’s. I’m not judging any of these categories, just laying them out as I’ve seen them. I could be totally wrong about this whole thing, who knows? I’m not a social psychologist. Besides, it depends on people, and people are impossible to define.

My point is that high school is as complicated as the teenagers in it. And that while people may fit parts of these categories, everyone has their own unique story.

As for my story? I’m lucky enough to have a simple one, if only because of my near-OCD personality. I came into high school totally clean and managed to keep it that way for four years. I make it a point to avoid all the major bad things 100% and try to have fun with what’s left.

Probably not most peoples’ definition of living, but it’s worked pretty well for me so far. And for anyone who’s afraid to try being a 10, don’t be.

It’s more fun than you’d think.


6 thoughts on “The Personality Spectrum of High Schoolers

  1. Claire says:

    Love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  2. L. Marie says:

    This is such valuable information, I had to tweet! So many times we cling to stereotypes or extremes (the fodder of many “teen” movies). We miss the forest for the trees. Thanks for the real story.

  3. Haha! I love it. I was also a 10 in high school, and I enjoyed it. People can judge how they will (and they did), but I’ve never regretted my lack of trouble-making in my high school days. You don’t have to be drunk to have fun.

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