Homecoming—one of the biggest events in highschool, a staple to the “high school experience.” From spirit week, to the themed class hallways, and the final home football game, Homecoming has so much preparation and hype to ensure there’s as large of an attendance to the dance as possible. I’m in my senior year now, and I’ve never gone to Homecoming, and here’s why you won’t see me there again this year, either.
You might be thinking, but Mandy! Weren’t you talking about how important Homecoming was in high school just a second ago? Before I get into the specifics on what’s held me back from attending, I’ll explain what my time at Blake has looked like.
Including this year, I’ve spent three years at Blake, and that’s the maximum amount of time I’m hoping to spend here. Although it’s being achieved in a rather round-about way, my goal is to be able to graduate early. I should be a junior this year, but I’ll be getting the last English credit I need to graduate through Montgomery College’s Dual Enrollment program next semester. Skipping junior year cuts one year off the potential times I could’ve gone to Homecoming.
Another hurdle was COVID—as we’re all too familiar with, everything was shut down almost completely last year, and Homecoming didn’t happen at all. That cuts another year off.
If you’re any good at math, you’d agree that I’ve only had two years to potentially attend Homecoming. Let’s talk about why I didn’t go freshman year.
Coming from a middle school in the Downcounty Consortium, going to Blake meant that the few people I did know, I hadn’t seen since I was in third grade. It took me a long time to get partially integrated into a friend group, and by the time that happened, Homecoming had already passed. In theory, I could’ve gone on my own and just mingled with different people until I wanted to leave; but to a very socially-anxious 14 year old, that was a daunting (and probably exhausting) task.
Also, a lot of people were skeptical about how well Homecoming was going to turn out during my Freshman year. That was the other main reason why I didn’t go; any sophomore or junior that I talked to had said that the previous year’s Homecoming was “a big room where a janitor was given a speaker.” Even though the enthusiasm was still present in the upcoming spirit week, nobody knew what to expect. As far as I knew, my time would’ve been much better spent getting rest and catching up on homework.
This year, however, the circumstances have changed. With COVID still prevalent, albeit in a more complicated way than last year, Homecoming itself will look very different—taking place in Blake’s parking lot, ending earlier than usual, and ticket prices are more expensive.
Personally, I question just how well COVID precautions will be enforced at the dance; it can’t be easy to fully monitor that large a group of students for the entirety of the night. My skepticism of how safe I’d be at Homecoming is reason enough for me not to attend, especially because I have immunocompromised people in my family. Not knowing everyone there and how safe they’ve been throughout the past year and a half could be a huge risk to my family’s health.
Now, I actually have a large group of friends this year that I would be happy to go to Homecoming with, but not all of us had even planned to go. The way that I’ll end up spending my night is first dressing up and taking pictures with some friends (just for the right atmosphere). After eating, we’ll split, and the people who chose to go to Homecoming will be there for about an hour. That wasn’t nearly enough time for me to justify spending $25 on, so I’ll be joining the other group, moving to a different house and watching movies in pajamas.
Initially, I had planned to go to both Homecoming and Prom this year, just to say that I had gone. After some consideration, that didn’t seem like a substantial enough reason for me to force myself to go. I don’t think I’ll be too heartbroken about scrapping Homecoming off of my bucket list. I think it’s a matter of “time best spent,” and for me, my time will be best spent surrounded by a group of people I’m comfortable with, in comfortable clothes, for the entirety of the night.