Special Reports

Let students savor high school years

Penn State brings the borough of State College many perks. Right around the corner there is access to Big Ten sports, a top-flight education, oh, and one more thing: the No. 1 party school in the country.

There is no doubt the town as a whole is affected by this reputation, and a student body that is darn proud of it. Many members of the community see the effects in an obvious way — from the police log in the newspaper to an unfortunate encounter on a weekend evening downtown — but what many don’t see is the way a high school student in a college town is influenced.

Contrary to what a senior in high school might feel, they are, in fact, not in college ... yet. For the vast majority of the upperclassmen in high school, the college “experience” is commonplace.

To grow up in an area where drunkenness is normal, even before the legal drinking age, the ideology becomes second nature. From the time kids are in middle school, hearing stories of drinking and partying is routine. It isn’t uncommon for kids to go downtown before or after a high school football game on a Friday night and see a party scene.

Growing up with the idea that that’s how town will always be, we begin to overlook excessive and underage drinking. Even more than overlook it, many times we become a part of it.

Sure, in other towns high school kids have a few parties their classmates attend, but having associations to college parties is a different league. Partying is an expected weekend activity in a college town, and we aren’t talking the usual high school parties.

There are frat houses, apartments and clubs filled with easy access to alcohol. With the number of high school students with older siblings or friends, the connection to college life is as simple as one text message or phone call.

High school students have accepted the mentality that most teenagers don’t come to terms with until they actually enter college. College is a time away from parents where boundaries are tested. Students can find out who they are and, let’s face it, experiment a little.

High school students have to wake up the next morning, go home and face their parents. It’s a grown-up atmosphere that is trickling down and infiltrating high schools.

High school students attending a college party or being supplied by college students want to feel older and have a good time. They need to learn that their turn will come.

Many of us can agree that we hope those four years of high school fly by so to get out of those same halls and away from those same people as soon as we can, but students need to save college for college.

High school is a place where we’re all learning more about ourselves, those around us and what things are important to us. With all this exploration, embarrassment is sure to work its way into our daily lives.

Why put yourself in a situation that is sure to lead to further embarrassment causing fellow students to talk and make assumptions about your weekend? Taking part in this lifestyle is wishing away the last of our youth, ignoring the comfort of a life at home.

We all know what’s coming, but we need to learn how to enjoy the high school life for all that it is.

College is coming quicker than we think, so in the meantime, we need to embrace high school and all it has to offer us.

Hanna Mincemoyer, a senior, and Erin Etter, a junior, are students at State College Area High School and members of the SADD club.

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