High School vs. College: Homecoming

“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.

High School vs. College: Intro

“Sometimes the hardest part isn’t letting go but rather learning to start over.”

–  Nicole Sobon

 

Well, hi! I think I’m off to a good start down the whole ‘I’ll barely be posting now’ path, seeing as I only went twelve days between my last write-up and this one.

Considering my new shiny armor of inconsistency, you’d probably be skeptical if I said I was going to try to start up anything with any sort of structure on this blog. But, I am.

From the start of this blog up until around March of 2013, I kept up a steady stream of “On Writing” posts. These were meant to be a more or less series of articles intended to map out the process of writing a book, start to finish. Soon after came the spin-off series, “On Publication.”

I still make entries to both occasionally, but I’ve about emptied my brain at this point. Rest assured if I ever get further in the publication process, I’ll write new posts accordingly. But for now, I want to start up a new series, which I really should’ve done earlier.

(Drumroll)

High school…versus College.

This is going to be fun, I promise.

Maybe even helpful, especially to anyone still in high school. I know all throughout my senior year, I wondered, what on Earth is my life going to be like a year from now, when I’m starting college? I couldn’t imagine it. And yet here I am, same old me.

So! How this is going to work: Whenever I make a new entry in this post series, “High School versus College,” I’ll pick a topic to be featured in that particular post. I’m thinking the first one will be Homecoming, since I just finished mine last week, but I’ll decide later. I’ll then spend the post breaking down the similarities and differences between how this topic goes in high school vs. college.

Then, at the end of the post, I’ll declare a winner. Woo!

I know I haven’t been updating this blog nearly as much as I used to, and that’s because I really have been insanely busy. Generally I wake up, do a bit of homework, go to class, then come home and do this:

IMG_0892

I eat in between, then do more homework, and end up going to bed at midnight if I’m lucky. There’s occasionally a small social event thrown in there, like a movie night or something, but no more than once every week or two.

I’m a busy bee.

I really have been trying to keep up on writing, but that requires mental energy—a lot of it—and college tends to sap that up by the end of the day. As always, I’m not going to stop writing anytime soon, but my rate is a little slowed down, to say the least. I’ll make up for it with a swamping of posts when I’m home for winter break.

For now, though, I do have to get ready for class. So, I’ll talk to everyone later, hopefully in a few days, when I post my first entry in this new pseudo-series.

Until then, have a great day!

P.S. Fun fact: Just like humans, British Cows moo in accents specific to their region. Who knew?

R.I.P. Tom Clancy

“Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world. ”

–  Tom Clancy

 

I realize that this epigraph is a repeat of the same quote I used in a post a few months ago, but this is my favorite one from Tom Clancy, so I think it’s worth re-using.

When I heard about Tom Clancy’s passing on Wednesday, I was naturally upset by the news. After all, Clancy has frequently been hailed as one of the greatest thriller novelists of all time. For anyone who isn’t familiar with him, I’ll give a brief summary.

Clancy was an insurance salesman until he sold his first book, The Hunt For Red October, in 1985 for $5000. From there he launched his publishing career and went on to write over twenty-five espionage novels, several of which were adapted into highly successful movies. When asked about his success, Clancy said, “What happened was pure dumb luck. I’m not the next Hemingway.”

And yet, if you walk into any book shop, you’ll most likely find an entire section devoted just to Clancy’s works. His name is up there with Stephen King, Judy Blume, and arguably even J.K. Rowling. If you know books, you’ve at least heard of him.

His final book actually hasn’t been released yet. It’s due out December 3rd, even though he passed away two days ago. And while the news of Clancy’s death was exceptionally upsetting for me, it isn’t because I’m a fan of his work. As a matter of fact, as shameful as this is for me to admit, I’ve never read a single one of his novels.

No, the reason I was upset is on a somewhat personal level. And thus, here’s my story about my interaction with Tom Clancy, which I think is fitting to share today.

As my avid blog readers know, I’m a teenage kid trying to get a book published. I have been for years. A little more than a year ago (August 2012), I was starting to do my research on the whole agent and publication process. I bought reference books, read author websites, and asked anyone who knew anything about how it worked.

As it happens, Tom Clancy grew up right around where I live. That itself was mind blowing when I found out…this super famous author whose name is in every book shop in America, lived only a few hours away from me? Cool!

So, I decided it was worth a shot to email him and ask for writing advice. I figured I could use the whole ‘hey, we both live in the same area’ as a sort of foot-in-the-door.

tcequery

Of course, my odds of getting a response were about the same as expecting a response from Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. But hey, I actually did get a response from J.K. Rowling, so I thought this was worth a good shot too.

I sent the email and went on a weekend trip shortly before senior year started. When I got back from the trip and checked my email, I had a new message.

It was from Tom Clancy.

tcemail

Wow.

Crazy, right? Here I was, a seventeen year old kid, and one of the most well-known authors of modern American literature sent me writing advice. About half the literary agents you submit to these days don’t even take time to shoot you a rejection, and Tom Clancy—who is probably infinitely busier than them, and far less obligated to reply—took time out of his day to help me.

There are just some things where you can’t describe how much they mean to you, you know?

But, out of respect to Tom Clancy, I’ll try.

Mr. Clancy, the fact that you took any time to respond to my email at all is exactly the kind of reason I don’t give up in trying to get published. Never mind the actual advice, though that was incredibly helpful, too. But the fact that there are still people out there who made it and want to see others make it, too…it’s hard to describe how much that keeps me going. When I tell people I’m trying to get a book published, a lot of them say, “cool,” or sometimes, “good luck.” But the ones who who do things like give me advice because they really want to see me succeed…those are the kinds of people who keep me going. And Mr. Clancy is most definitely one of them.

I’ve never read a word of this man’s stories, but I already like and respect him more than many authors on my shelf. How he treated me is how I’ll aspire to treat others if I’m ever published, and I promise—publicly, on this blog, so I can’t back out—that if I ever do make it, I’ll do my best to help other people get where I am, just like Mr. Clancy was trying to do with me.

So, to wrap it up: Rest in peace, Mr. Clancy, and thank you for taking time to help me when you didn’t have to. I might not have read any of your books, but if you ask me, I’ve read the best words you’ve ever written.