The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Live, laugh, love high school: Ellie’s edition on coming-of-age

Sofia Lee

As a girl with a summer birthday, my special day in July was one of reflection for every year since I can remember. I took the time to focus on the social trends that shaped me to appear my age — and, if you ask me now, I can list all of the trends I participated in. LED lights, bedroom vines, shattered CDs and Pinterest vibes were just some of the things that popped on my social media feed and littered my brain with what I thought would become features of the new me.

Looking at it now, the same old vines from the pandemic still hang in my room and the Brandy Melville tank tops are amongst the other piles of extensive clothing that used to fit a trend, but are now labeled as basic. And it’s hard to see which trend wrote my coming-of-age film, but of the ones that directed the route of my life in high school, the uncommon trends are as common as the so-called “basic.” The new me at 17 is a bit of everything from kindergarten to senior year.

Here’s some advice on how to write your own high school film and what you might want to encapsulate in how to Live, Laugh, Love High School: You Edition.

One. An easy way to explore more about yourself is through social media. While it certainly has downsides, social media supports many communities in discovering new hobbies or creative ideas. We lose love for something the moment its popularity rises, and we turn to being disrespectful — it’s ridiculous.

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Take my pink Lululemon joggers for example, which were once a “rare” and therefore heavily sold-out item, and now bear the term basic because of their popularity. The way people expressed interest turned into groups of cute or boring — and truthfully speaking, I bought them because they were cute.

You don’t have to stop wearing your Nike Panda Low Dunks, hated for their price and their simple black-white contrast. Allow yourself and others to sport what you want — regardless of whether you start a new trend or follow a popular one. Trends and hobbies are established to move the fashion industry or certain cultures forward, not to separate “one of the many” and those who maintain other differing interests. We’ve started to believe that the “cool” rating of something is dependent on its uniqueness — almost like the feeling of what’s special — and so what we like is dependent on straying away from the basic…but honestly, who cares if it’s basic?

Advice #1: Let people like what they like. And let’s admit it: we’ve all participated in a trend at some point, “basic” or not.

Two. I grew up on movies like “Clueless” and “Legally Blonde” that showed me from a young age that cliques were supposed to be reality. It’s apparent that, maybe, these films didn’t give me a great grasp on what high school would be all about — the blondes don’t necessarily stick with the blondes and the nerds don’t sit next to dumpsters.

Thankfully, our environment is healthier than those movies. Though we do have some clusters of upperclassmen or athletes establishing dominance in the quad and smaller friend groups behind classroom wings, high school isn’t always like “Lady Bird.” The reality I had envisioned freshman year still holds the defining factors of high school like gossip, cliques and parties, but don’t let these coming-of-age films make it seem like this is all there is to your four years. Sure, go to parties and perhaps gossip a little, but the foundation to this time should build on what lets you have fun (safely).

There are so many ways to start now with what you’ve always dreamed of doing when you grew up — I used to do cartwheels to impress the big girls, so remind yourself that you’re still a role model of inclusivity, memories and a continuation of all that youthful thrill. Go ahead, write your storyline, and be your own main character.

Advice #2: Follow what you want and gain control as the main character in your own narrative.

Three. You know those couples making out in the small hallways around campus? Please, take that elsewhere because people need to get to class and some are freshly 13. Here’s some simple advice to end this column for you. Don’t date until you’re ready, and even then, events like homecoming and football games are still enjoyable without a partner. Especially if you’re a freshman, love yourself before you can love others — and learn to be civilized before you do anything along the lines of a romance movie. Coming of age is about a transition, and you don’t have to rush it.

Advice #3: Find yourself before finding others.

With love,
Your senior Ellie Ji

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Ellie Ji
Ellie Ji, Arts & Culture Editor

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