This is a short piece I wrote when I was in high-school. It’s a little embarrassing to read through now but I thought it was worth a post.
As any secondary school teenager will tell you, one of the most traumatic things that we young adults have to deal with is fitting in. This, on top of spots, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends in general, hormones, homework, home life, exams, and irritating family members (cough, mother!). As you can imagine, it can all become too much. So, why not become a social misfit I hear you cry?! Well, if we were all social misfits then there wouldn’t be a point to fitting in. It just doesn’t work like that: our teenage lives must be made as dreadfully and excruciatingly painful as physically possible; like being dropped in boiling oil or being burnt alive. So this is a helpful guide to try to make fitting in just that little bit less painful.
So… what exactly is ‘fitting in’? Fitting in is all about being yourself. Woah! Stop right there! Fitting in is not about being yourself. It’s about getting respect. And this leads us to our first step on the long and difficult trek that is fitting in: climbing the social ladder. To do this, it is essential that you must be well-liked. For this to happen, you have to possess some mysterious ‘It’ factor. What’s the definition of ‘It’? Oh, that’s asking too much… Basically it’s money, or looks, or a car or an attitude or some other ridiculous meaningless thing that will earn you a bit of R E S P E C T. So, the social ladder? Let’s get straight to the point. Have ‘it’… and if you don’t? Well, basically you’re doomed to trip on your first step in climbing the ladder. Or the equivalent in a game of snakes and ladders – go back to the beginning and try again.
To explain the high school set up, there are the basic cliques. ‘The Plastics’ (AKA the popular kids), ‘The Goths’, (who generally wear black and enjoy being depressed) and ‘The Nobody’s’ (who are somewhere in the middle of the popularity scale). Last, and kind of the least are ‘The Nerds’. You may wonder if ‘The Nerds’ have swallowed a calculator due to their amazing mathematical abilities. So slot yourself a place in one of these categories and you’re on the road to success.
Next, we should consider the inevitable. Parents. Even if your parents think they are the next Presley or Monroe. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, let your friends know they even exist let alone get to actually meet them. If your parents act weird in public then that’s a one-way ticket into Social-Reject-Ville for the rest of your school life. An easy way to avoid this happening is to keep them chained up. Don’t let anyone see them. Just like you wouldn’t want anyone to see a patch of back acne or a rabid pet dog.
Music taste is also very important. You can’t have a different opinion to your ‘friends’ (assuming that you have already taken at least one or two tentative steps up the social ladder). Don’t let them see bands such as Abba or S-Club7 on your iPod or MP3 (if you’re guilty of this, you know who you are. Delete immediately!). Try to enjoy anything ‘hip’, ‘hop’ or ‘now’ or hop off the ladder.
You want people you don’t know to think you’re cool, so you must train your ‘people skills’ like you would a workout in the gym. Practice in front of the mirror. Oh, and something I’ve learnt from experience. Do not stand there, mouth open like a drowning fish, when someone you don’t know talks to you. Usually, I find that a good technique to use is to smile at them and hope they don’t think you’ve had something injected into your face or that you’re in terrible pain and baring your pearly whites at them. This may prevent them from making any deep conversation for a few minutes as they ponder whether you were trying to be nice or if they had something stuck in their teeth from lunchtime.
So. Now you know. The steps to fitting in, one step at a time, steady as you go. Hopefully, by using these techniques to the best of your ability, you’ll have a happy high school life. If not, there was obviously no hope for you to begin with.