The third week of October is one of Maclay students’ favorite school weeks of the year. Also known as the homecoming week, it gives the school an opportunity to raise the school spirit through fun events like dress-up days, pep rally, homecoming parade, a big football game and a school dance. Out of all of these activities, the dance creates the biggest excitement among students who are looking forward to dressing up in fancy outfits, taking hundreds of pictures and making memories that are special to high school. However, people often forget the downside of homecoming. Since homecoming is one of the biggest traditions of American high schools, it involves numerous expectations that creates unnecessary pressure on people.
To people who do not enjoy big parties, going to homecoming itself can be a pressure. Since homecoming is one of the biggest parties at school and there are numerous conversations about it both inside and outside of the campus, students often feel the pressure to attend it. This issue becomes more prominent among freshmen, who are still in the process of adjusting to high school, because homecoming is their first real high school dance. Since they do not know what a homecoming dance actually looks like, they feel more stressed that they will be missing out on something big. The pressure can be stressful to juniors and seniors as well as they might need some time to recharge from an academically busy week or extra days to catch up with schoolwork. Still, many choose homecoming over a healing weekend because homecoming is a once-a-year event that most people participate in.
When students decide to conform to the pressure and go to the dance against their will, they will likely realize there is so much more pressure laid in front of them. The first will be about what they are going to wear, from shoes to dresses for girls and suits for guys. Even with a single dress, there are several problems involved as girls are pressured to purchase a dress that fits a trend but is still unique and looks good on them. Unfortunately, looking for a dress that makes them look good can lead to a sense of insecurity about their body images, especially when a dress they purchased online does not look as good as they thought it would be and when they have to try stacks of dresses and compare each one to what it would ideally look like on the model. To make matters worse, students also feel the need to avoid a dress they wore in previous years or the one that someone else is going to wear at the same party. Since homecoming dresses are relatively expensive, these standards add an extra burden on preparing for homecoming.
Once the dress problem is resolved, the next thing to worry about is who to go with. Beginning a few weeks before homecoming, students can easily find a boy asking a girl with a sign on campus. Although homecoming proposals can be a fun experience, this culture often creates pressure in multiple situations. Since it is more common and accepted that a boy asks a girl instead of the opposite, boys repeatedly become vulnerable to think that they have to ask someone, even when they don’t necessarily want to. Moreover, since proposals are usually made in public and become the subject of conversations, students also feel pressured to make a “good” sign that will impress others. For girls, they feel a different kind of pressure: a pressure to say “yes.” When people are watching, filming, and posting homecoming proposals, there is always an expectation that a girl says “yes”. This situation can get quite uncomfortable for girls as their answers are controlled by the surroundings, making them unable to speak their true thoughts.
Despite the negative pressure associated with it, homecoming is a good way to create long-lasting high school memories. From planning a pre-party and dressing up to taking pictures and dancing with a huge crowd, homecoming includes a variety of activities that students do not experience that often. Going to a dance is also a good way to show school spirit, get involved with the school community and meet new people. Since there are hundreds of people at the dance, it is a great social opportunity not only for high school students but also for faculty members and particularly for those that are new to the school.
However, homecoming is not the only way of socializing and making memories in high school. In fact, it might be an undesirable experience for people that do not enjoy being with a large crowd. For them, talking to a small group of people is more likely to be a better way to socialize. After all, when an individual does not want to be at the dance, they will not be having a good time.
One of the main purposes of homecoming is to create fun memories with other school members, but there are multiple ways to do that. What works best depends on the individual’s personality and preferences. If big parties are not their choice, they should be able to make that decision without feeling guilty or excluded. If they have different preferences on picking an outfit or getting a date, their ways should be done without being laughed at. When there is less verbal pressure on what to do or not to do, students will be able to maximize their homecoming experience.