Are high school traditions necessary?

The time to prepare for graduation has arrived. In early November seniors took their panoramic class portrait, and in October juniors gathered to discuss and start ordering their class rings. Voting for prom’s theme begun and the seniors’ fundraiser for it has ended. All these rites of passage form the senior bucketlist of things to do before high school graduation in June.

The senior bucket list consists of high school traditions such as prom, purchasing a class ring and lettering in an organization. Some students think that the bucket list is stupid, when it consists of things that are made for them. While not taking part in any of these rites of passage does not make a student any less a part of the school, the senior bucket list serves only to reward students and should be taken advantage of while everybody can.

The accessories such as the letterman jackets and class rings that students can purchase are often regarded as frivolous and “stupid”, but they are both done with the purpose of rewarding hard work. Letterman jackets are awarded to students who participate in a club or organization and meet enough requirements to earn one. The letterman jackets represent all the hard work a student put into a much-loved organization. Why not be recognized for the time that was devoted and dedicated to choir over the years? What about all those weekends given up to play football in the mud and rain?

And the class rings serve to recognize students as belonging to something. They are a part of their class; nobody is just wandering around aimlessly throughout high school. For the students who do not earn lettermen, the ring can serve as a nice reminder of how hard they worked to graduate. You’re only hurting yourself when you dismiss these things as stupid.

Prom is the last big night a student experiences in high school. There will be no more homecoming dances or playoff games, no more shows to attend. Prom night is a nice way to finish off all those rituals without saying good-bye just yet. While it is entirely unnecessary to spend thousands of dollars on the perfect dress, the right corsage and a limousine, it is a night that you can remember decades from now. It is impossible to know whether it will have any impact if you don’t find out by going.

Sure, some people are under the impression that prom is the climax of high school, that the dance defines a student’s experience, and the hype-overload can reach high enough levels to dissuade a student from going. If the reason you can’t go to prom is because you think you have to have a date, you’re wrong: Go with a group of friends. Don’t be that person who has the chance to go but chooses not to because they’re too cool. Skipping out on prom is a decision that can be regretted a decade later when you realize that what could have been a fun night spent with the friends who grew apart during college was a missed opportunity.

Don’t let other people control how much you enjoy high school. Everybody has to go through these four years, but there’s no point in dreading it because this will only make it miserable. Make the most of prom, because you’ll never have another. Buy a class ring to help yourself, because some colleges allow students to exchange it for their college one. If you decide not to participate in any of the bucket list items, then you’ll only be denying yourself the benefits that they provide.

Refraining from participating in the bucket list does not make high school any less of an experience, but there’s no reason to put it down with every given chance when it can only benefit students. What you think makes you so superior to everyone participating actually makes you seem like a jerk. And keep in mind that, for some students, these are rites of passage which they will never be given the opportunity to re-experience. Don’t make them feel as if they are any less for buying a class ring now because they won’t be able to get the “smarter” college one.