“Only got just one life, this I’ve learned; who cares what they’re gonna say
I wanna dance, and love, and dance again.”
– Jennifer Lopez, Dance Again
Me when I look at how long it’s been since my last post:
Well, to be fair, I did warn you.
So, let’s do this! Homecoming in high school versus college.
Anyone who’s been reading my blog since October 2012 might remember my posts about my last high school homecoming. First there was a summary of spirit week here, then my post shortly before my last homecoming dance, here.
Don’t worry if you don’t feel like reading those. This post is more to compare the overall high school experience with Homecoming, rather than mine specifically. That being said, we’re all presumably short on time, so let’s get going.
Homecoming in High School:
I can’t speak for everyone, but I think the general consensus is that (if done properly), Homecoming in high school is freaking awesome. Maybe even the highlight of the year, depending your grade level.
I’m not sure how Homecoming works in every high school across the country, but all the ones I’ve heard of have this sort of setup: the entire school week is filled with ‘spirit days,’ things like character day or wacky tacky day and rounding off with spirit day. Then you get out of class early on Friday to go to pep rally, you all scream your throats out, then go to the Homecoming game that night with all your friends. And then of course, the next day, there’s the Homecoming dance.
And then the following week you’re all sad because your hallways aren’t decorated anymore and you can’t go to school with your underwear outside of your pants without getting funny looks.
What can I say? High school Homecoming is fantastic. Granted, I didn’t get all that into it as a Freshman, but I still loved it. And by Senior year, I was dressing up for every day and finally got to participate in that moment I’d been waiting for since 9th grade: to charge onto the football field with the other seniors.
If you’ve already done this, you know how amazing it is. And if you haven’t done it yet, keep that in mind before you do.
Homecoming in College:
Unfortunately, I can’t be the BEST spokesperson for this element of college. Why? Because my particular university doesn’t have a football team.
I don’t mind that in the slightest. The only thing that really eliminated was the Homecoming game, and it rained that weekend anyway, so it didn’t make a difference.
That being said, even if we did have a football team, I’m prepared to say that college Homecoming isn’t nearly as fun as high school.
There are probably a few college students ready to hurt me for that last sentence, but I think the majority of them agree. In college, you don’t dress up as your favorite superheroes or have a class color you wear or anything like that. There’s ‘spirit week,’ but it’s things like having a bonfire or a handful of campus activities you can attend with your friends if you want.
And don’t get me wrong, I did attend. And they were pretty fun. But there was one key element missing that was everywhere in high school: cohesion. You didn’t go to the pep rally and sit grouped by class and try to win the spirit stick. You all just kind of went if you felt like it. There was no moment when you were in the stands cheering with all of your classmates.
Maybe there are at some universities, and I’m jealous if that’s the case. But even if there was that, I’m sure there are few (if any) campuses that hold Homecoming dances just like the ones in high school.
Don’t get me wrong, there are probably dance parties. We’ve had a few of those at our school. But they’re informal. You don’t ask a date, you don’t get all dressed up, you don’t take tons of pictures beforehand. You don’t slow dance. You don’t drive there and back and go out to dinner. All of that is a part of high school dances, and you leave it behind when you go to college.
Of course, I knew that. Anyone who read my pre-Prom post could probably tell that I understood how good I had it then. But just because you know how good something is, doesn’t make it much easier when it’s gone.
A few weeks ago, one of my friends in eleventh grade texted me, asking if I thought he should go to Homecoming since it would be his third one, plus he would only be in a group. I said absolutely, yes. First of all, because I’ve gone to dances with groups before and it’s easily as fun as having a date. And second of all, because I can’t imagine looking back on high school knowing there was a Homecoming dance I chose not to attend. Yeah, some of them had horrible music. One of the dances, my friends and I even left early. But we just went somewhere else, and we still had an amazing night. You have those in college, too, but they’re different. You’re not in a fancy suit or dress going out to dinner then heading to a gym to flail around like a mentally impaired gorilla.
I know, some people dislike that whole aspect. Quite a few of my friends in high school never went to dances because the music “was trashy” or it “wasn’t that fun.” At the risk of sounding blunt…live a little! You don’t get this chance in college, I promise. No imitation is close enough. So, my advice to even the youngest of high school freshmen: par-tici-pate. Dress up for the spirit days, even if you look ridiculous. Go to the Homecoming game even if it’s freezing. Go to the dance even if it’s with a group and the music is horrendous and the gym is roughly the temperature of Mordor. At least then, when you’re in college, you can look back and say you tried. And trust me, I’d much rather miss things I used to do, rather than things I chose not to.
So, High School vs. College: Homecoming.
Winner: High School. Hands down.
Enjoy it while you can, guys.