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LIFE

School

3 blatant lies (and 2 undeniable truths) pop culture told us about going back to school

It's that time of year again, when we start putting away our flip-flops and sunscreen stock up on backpacks and books. Been there, done that, right? Not this year.

This is not just any back-to-school season. Thanks to all the social distancing and lockdown orders we went through last spring, this is poised to be a back-to-school season of epic—even cinematic—proportions.

Regular school life may feel like a distant memory, but don't forget just how wrong Hollywood gets all things academic sometimes. Here are three lies movies and TV love to tell about #studentlife—and two things they get right.

SCHOOL HALLWAYS ARE LIKE MINIATURE FASHION RUNWAYS: LIE

The truth: Fashion is way, way less of a priority at school IRL than shows would have us believe. First of all, a lot of schools have uniforms, taking opps for #OOTDs totally off the table. And even at school s without uniforms, you'll see way more people roaming the halls in jeans than haute couture.

Here's the thing though: This doesn't mean you should abandon all dreams of expressing yourself through your personal style. Pop culture does accurately portray just how individual fashion can (and totally should) be. So experiment with your style while you figure out what works for you. Remember: Fashion is a feeling, not a formula.

YOUR FRIENDS WILL GET YOU THROUGH IT ALL—EVEN THE MOMENTS THAT SEEM UNBEARABLE: TRUTH

The truth: Whether you've been a part of a solid squad since kindergarten or you're just finding your people, school is full of opportunities to bond with your besties. Actually, friendship is one of those rare things that's even better IRL than it is onscreen.

Here's the thing though: Know that your buds have your back in good times and bad. Feeling lost, scared, sad or all of the above? Your true blues will be there to support you, listen to you and pick you up after you stumble. And, of course, you'd gladly do the same for them.

YOU'LL HAVE TIME FOR DEEP, MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN CLASSES: LIE

The truth: On the big screen, breaks between classes allow for plenty of time to chat at the lockers or to relax in cozy student lounges. In real life? You've got about three minutes to dash from one class to the next—and you're lucky to squeeze in a bathroom break, let alone an in-depth convo with your crush.

Here's the thing though: If you've got major news to spill or need advice, STAT, don't stress trying to get it all our between second and third period or during study hall when you're supposed to be, well, studying. Save it for the walk home or lynch, when you can give (and get) undivided attention.

EVERY SCHOOL HAS ITS OWN COMPLEX SOCIAL STRUCTURE: TRUTH

The truth: One of the most enduring movie tripes is the moment the new kid arrives on campus and a magical BFF appears to explain the school's complicated clique system. You probably won't need a detailed map to navigate the social hierarchy of your caf, but that doesn't mean you'd be in a blissfully clique-free zone, either. 

Here's the thing though: School is like a dress rehearsal for adult life—and part of that is learning to navigate social situation s and all the different kinds of people you'll encounter in them. The key thing to remember? One squad may not fit all. You may wind up having a few friend groups—and that's just fine. Stay open-minded (and stay kind) and you'll be above any clique drama.

YOUR CRUSH WILL BE THE MAIN FOCUS OF EVERYTHING YOU DO BETWEEN FIRST AND LAST BELL: LIE

The truth: Yes, you'll have crushes at school, and yes, obviously, some of them will occupy a hefty amount of your brainpower. But life is not a Hollywood romance—and you are not a walking heart-eye emoji. Unlike some shows and movies imply, you won't be fixating on said crush every single second.

Here's the thing though: Above all, you're in school to learn and get good grades, not to obsess about that dreamy sophomore in your science class. So sure, allow yourself a few moments to scribble your names together in your notebook during a lull in a lecture, but try to stay in student mode as much as possible. And that shouldn't;t be too hard to do: After all, you've got demanding classes, amazing friendships and a whole host of cool extracurrics to prevent you from turning into a love zombie every time you catch feelings.

Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our August/September 2020 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.

Slider Image: instagram.com/toalltheboysivelovedbefore

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by Kayleigh Roberts; edited for digital by Erin Sargent | 9/7/2020
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