Most people know about “prama”, but if you happen to be unenlightened in the matter, it’s the excess of drama and the trials of planning surrounding prom. Most people think that prom is the most stressful dance of the year (I mean there’s even a word for it, as I just mentioned). Those people are, unfortunately, dead wrong.
I’m here to tell you that this prize, without a doubt, goes to homecoming. You might be thinking to yourself, “Lauren, what authority do you have to compare the difference between ‘hoco stress’ and ‘prom stress’, you’ve never even been to prom?” You’d be correct, but as a nearly professional worrier, I feel like I have a genuine grasp on how stressful things should and shouldn’t be. Homecoming, while it might be fun, is by far too stressful.
Every year, right around October, the students of Anacortes High School are suddenly thrown into the chaos of “Who do I ask? Do I ask anyone at all? Will I get asked? How? Wait, what should I wear?” Loyalties are suddenly tested in Game-of-Thrones-fashion as friend groups widdle down their numbers to get those coveted reservations at the Majestic or the Rockfish.
Then there’s the class competitions. As soon as the contests start, we, the students of AHS, unite with our respective classmates to take down the other three classes– brutally. These competitions are fun and exciting, but the planning, oh boy, that’s a wild ride. The pressure and time commitment that goes into planning the floats, the lip sync, the spirit days, and everything in between is a doozy. So, next time you see a class officer or advisor around homecoming, thank them, and maybe hug them, they really need it.
The whole class competition shabang brings me to my next major stressor–the fact that homecoming is an all-grades dance. While this allows for juniors to hang out with their sophomore friends and other inter-class minglings, it can be even more stressful getting those dinner seats and it makes it all the more likely for girls to unexpectedly be confronted with another girl in their same dress (big uh-oh). If you have a younger sibling in the lower grades, they’ll probably see you dancing awkwardly, which is also a major yikes (and if you already have a sibling who’s only one grade apart from you, and they’ll see you dancing horribly at prom too, I’m very sorry). Now that you’re all dreading the Homecoming dance and feeling like your head might explode balloon-style, I’m here to tell you, do not worry. I’ve been there, done that, and although I don’t have it all figured out (psst– no one does), I have a couple of tips and tricks to help you navigate the 8-mile, overgrown jungle-of-a-hike that is homecoming.
#1: Don’t sweat it! This one is simple in theory, impossible in practice. Both years I have attended homecoming, I have had a dress malfunction just days before the dance, and both years, I have fixed it and no one has known besides my mom (and now everyone reading this article in which I just ousted myself). Everything ends up being fine. Even if your nail polish isn’t the exact blue as your dress or everything doesn’t go exactly as you planned, you’ll have fun, so just relax.
#2: Lower your expectations. I’m not saying that homecoming isn’t fun; it’s actually a blast. I’m just saying that this isn’t the 2004 teen rom-com “A Cinderella Story”. We don’t have a huge ball type thing, and young Chad Michael Murray isn’t going to sweep you off your feet and try to return the phone you dropped at the dance (sorry). If you left your phone, it’s probably going to be gone in the morning (unless you have really helpful friends). I hope everyone that goes has a magical night, even if there’s no Chad, and that it will be one of your favorite high school memories, but if you catch yourself at the dance feeling like this isn’t as fun as it was made out to be, you’re thinking too hard. Just forget about what it could be and enjoy it for what it is.
#3: Don’t worry if you don’t have a date! Every year I hear people complaining that they don’t have someone to go with or that they’re only going if they get asked. If you’re in the 10% of people who can summon the courage, go ask someone yourself! For the other 90%, make plans with friends. Someone might still ask you, but at least now you have your squad of girls, guys, or both at your back to help make your night a blast. There’s nothing to hype you up like a group of girls doing their makeup at the same time as you or getting ready with your friends.
#4: Plan! I didn’t plan much Freshman year, but I didn’t go out to dinner so there wasn’t as much of a need. Sophomore year there was lots of planning, and it got a little hectic. Junior year… I’ll let you know where we end up going to dinner– if it ever gets decided. Regardless, someone in your group needs to make plans. That brings me to another piece of advice (What?! Another already?! Yes, this is a fast-paced article, try to keep up): do your best to be agreeable. You’ll never get anywhere if everyone in your group has ten different, twelve-step, excruciatingly detailed visions of how the night is going to unfold.
#5: You look great! Ok, so this isn’t really advice, but you all need to hear it. Everyone can get so down on themselves about how they look or how their outfit isn’t the best next to so-and-so’s. Please don’t do that. I think you look great (I love the shoes!), so get pumped, start playing Eye of the Tiger in your head, and get out there! You’re equal to the challenge of your rival, whether it’s homecoming stress or drama or both.