When I was in high school, preparing to go to college, one of the things that I was most excited about was participating in the college homecoming activities. Sadly, as a senior in college, I have to admit that I never really think about the homecoming events until they’re happening or they’re over.
That’s not to say that these activities aren’t fun or anything, just that I’m so busy with work and school that I really don’t have the time or the motivation to take part in most things happening on campus. Still, every time homecoming does roll around, I find myself reminiscing on the few homecoming experiences I have had.
In high school, homecoming was a big deal for everyone. We had a week of themed dress-up days and a huge pep rally. I was on my high school’s drumline, and we learned a new special song every year with a new routine to perform for everyone. Then there’s the homecoming football game, where, of course, we scheduled the worst team to ensure a win to end the festivities.
The excitement and comradery of homecoming week is something that always makes me smile when I think about it. There’s something so incredibly comforting about being surrounded by future, current and past students, all there to support each other.
The day after the football game was when we would have our homecoming dance. This is when all the fuzzy feelings of comradery and fellowship would come crashing down.
You see, I went to a parochial Catholic school. This means that all of our activities had to be approved by the church connected to our school. Things got boring pretty quickly. So much so that I only attended the homecoming dance my freshman and senior year. Honestly, I don’t remember much of it.
Because the dances were held on campus in the high school gymnasium, everything was highly monitored. We had an extensive dress code – no short skirts, no low back and no cleavage. Even the guys had to adhere to their own dress code.
Once you actually went to the dance, you had to line up to be breathalyzed. Then, once you got inside, you couldn’t leave until the dance was actually over. Way to kill the mood before it even starts!
The music that they played also had to be approved, and really the DJ was so unbelievably unentertaining, there was no hope for him to be able to turn the dance around. I spent most of my time sitting on my phone and popping off my fake nails.
Now that I’m an adult, I understand why they monitored us so heavily. It was a school function on school property and they had an image to uphold. I don’t blame them, and I’m definitely not saying that they should have let us have a free-for-all in the gym, but them doing all of this and having a complete lack of trust in us really put a damper on the entire night.
Worst of all, we couldn’t even leave if we weren’t having fun. We had to be held hostage, watching the clock until they finally released us. We even tried hosting the dance at the local civic center, just to be able to play the music that we wanted, but they wouldn’t approve it because they wanted to be able to monitor what we did.
You can probably tell by now why I didn’t attend all four years, and why I really don’t remember much now. I know that no high school experience is ever like the movies, but couldn’t they have just let us pretend? I already didn’t have a date, they couldn’t have let me have this one thing?
I won’t lie, homecoming wasn’t all bad. I liked getting all dressed up and going to nice restaurants to eat and taking pictures with my friends. Some of my favorite memories are with my friend group, hanging out before the dance. I have such fond memories of my mom and grandma helping me get ready. But really, when it comes to the dance, that’s the only thing I can advocate for.
Regardless of my experiences, I hope that every high school having their homecoming festivities really has such an amazing experience. Savor those moments, because they’ll be over before you know it. And as for UL’s homecoming, maybe I’ll be able to come back and experience these festivities as an alum.