5 Ways High School Musical Skewed My Expectations For The Future

5 Ways High School Musical Skewed My Expectations For The Future

Troy Bolton got into Berkley and the nerdy new girl got the guy.

New Year’s Eve is a day of celebrating another year, making far-fetched resolutions, and the day that Disney Channel’s most beloved couple met on a karaoke stage. So as we celebrate this new year, it’s time we also mention how unrealistic the series, "High School Musical" truly was. While the film’s catchy songs, lovable characters, and memorable plot had nearly every child singing “Breaking Free” at the top of their lungs, and chanting “Wild Cats!” whenever the question “What team?” broke through the crowd, its influential reign may have also skewed expectations of the future for me and for every other child who grew up in the early 2000s. Here are five aspects the Disney Channel Original Movie series got wrong about high school.

1. Troy and Gabriella’s relationship wasn’t realistic.

This probably doesn’t come as a shocker to anyone, but Troy and Gabriella’s endearing relationship is an extremely rare phenomenon in any normal high school. In reality, the nerdy new girl rarely gets the guy in high school, let alone the most popular basketball player. But that didn’t stop every girl optimistically awaiting the day where they too would find a ‘Troy Bolton’ of their own. Unfortunately, most of us were humbly put into place once we experienced high school for ourselves.

2. Most public schools don't have the funds that East High had.

The high school in the movie, known as East High, must have had some impressive funding considering it was able to stage a lavish musical production and have an elaborate roof garden for the science club. Not to mention the oversized, high-definition posters of star athletes that lined the hallways.

3. They got the high school caste system all wrong.

In the film, there are never any cheerleaders or 'Regina George' equivalents depicted, allowing for the female science club members to swoop in and get the guys. It is only at East High where the one and only popular girl to be feared in the hallways is the theater fanatic, Sharpay Evans.

4. They made getting into colleges look way too easy.

Let’s be honest, Troy Bolton was probably a B-student at best, but nevertheless, he got into the very prestigious school, UC-Berkeley, with no trouble. While some may say that his athletic abilities pushed him over the top, there is no way to justify how this star athlete with nothing but a mediocre singing voice had Julliard scouts consider him for admission. In fact, this trend continues for the entire cast as nearly every character gets into their desired school and receives some type of worth-while scholarship. Because of the far-fetched standards set by the film, my naïve ten-year-old self-believed I was destined for Julliard, Yale, or Stanford like all my favorite characters, unaware of just how challenging it would be to get in, let alone the piles of student loans that would accumulate.

5. People usually don't break the status quo, even after an inspirational dance piece.

Because of this film, many of us millennials envisioned high school as a place where jocks, nerds, and theater junkies all got along. Unfortunately, this usually isn’t the case. While the idea of transcending the high school hierarchy sounds appealing, it can’t be done with one dance number in the cafeteria.


However, while "High School Musical" failed to teach us that nerds don't usually get the popular guys, minimal effort cannot produce ivy league diplomas, and breaking out into song doesn't have the ability to solve everyone's problems, it did have a way of bringing an entire generation together as we rooted for our favorite couple, chanted for the Wildcats, and held back tears as the cast delivered their final song. It is a story line that we all grew up with and its melodies will likely travel with us next time we step foot on a karaoke stage of our own.

Cover Image Credit: Disney

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The Key To Ending Your First Draft Blues

Or at least getting through the next chapter with your hair intact

Ah, the first draft. We’ve all been there as writers. The day we decide to turn a blank word document into a 70,000 word (or more) masterpiece. Or, at least, that’s always the aim. Often as first-time writers, we go into the experience blind, learning as we go, and never really knowing whether what we’re doing is right or wrong.

It can be frustrating at times, as most first drafts are a test of sanity. As somebody who had written ten first draft books (nearing eleven) in six years, I have had my fair share of ups and downs when it comes to first drafts.

My first book ever took me four years just to write it, I started at the age of sixteen and finished by the time I was twenty. A year later I had written another. I then wrote one in thirty days, and nowadays I write about three to four books a year.

My point is, there is no science to writing. It is all about learning how to do it, and finding the methods that suit you best. I just wish I could have had someone to tell me all of that when I started.

With that in mind, here are my five pieces of advice on how to write your first draft:

#5 Embrace the Terribleness

The first draft is always the worst version of any story. The sooner you accept it, the easier it is to move forward with your work. So you misspell a few words so bad that even Word can't help you. That shouldn't stop you from going with the flow. Your dialogue will feel hammier than a "Star Wars" film, but you'll clean it up the second time around. You're not expected to create a masterpiece on the first go, so just enjoy the ride.

#4 Suffer for your Art

Writing can be hard. I've said it enough times already, but it's true. You have to be prepared to suffer for it. The reason my first book took four years to write was because I didn't commit to it. The reason I wrote 80,000 words in thirty days was because I committed myself to write at least 1,000 words a day. Now I average 3,000 daily. Is it painful to force 3,000 words to the page every day? Yes, but that's what you have to do to get the draft finished.

#3 Take your Time

Now I know this goes against what I just said, but it's important that you go at the pace you want to. I was happier writing 1,000 words a day, but I was eighteen then. At twenty-three, I'll never get everything done going at 1,000 words a day. Commit yourself to writing every day, even if its only 200 words. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. You'll get to the finishing line quicker if you jog a steady pace rather than adopting a sprint and rest mentality.

#2 Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Yes, it's important to remember what colour your character's hair is, which one is taller, and what weapon they are carrying. Although with that said, it is important to keep going forward. In my editing, I go over everything with a fine comb, often with a character profile at my side. Don't get bogged down giving every little detail the first time around, you'll have time for that later. The hardest thing is getting it down the first time.

#1 Keep the Story Going at All Costs

This kind of goes without saying, but it is by far the most important step for me. You have to keep moving forward. It doesn't matter if you have to use the biggest Deus ex machina to get your plot going again, you can always edit it away in the re-draft. I use a technique called automatic writing, which means that I don't plan every detail of a chapter. I simply write it as I go. This allows me to give my characters natural reactions as events often come as a surprise to me too.

Obviously it is good to have a rough idea of what is meant to happen, but as long as you can get your characters from A to B, then you are half way there. The other half will be polishing it to the point you can see your reflection.

Good luck, and happy writing.

Cover Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Writer%27s_Block_I.jpg

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4 Steps To Writing a Haiku

It's Fun I Promise

You've probably had to write a haiku for English sometime in your school career. You most likely found it boring, or difficult, or just plain stupid. I am going to try and show you a more fun way to write a haiku.

1. The Basics: What You Should Know

In case you don't know, a haiku is a Japanese poem that is only three lines long. It is usually taught that the syllables in each line should go 5-7-5. But really, as long as there are 17 syllables or less in the three lines, it's a haiku.

2. Write to Get a Reaction

When you write a haiku, you are aiming to get one of three reactions: Aaaahhh, aha!, or ha ha! For example...

Aaahhh: Laying in bed/dog next to me under blanket/my furry heater

Aha!: Life is too short to love people/who do not deserve/your whole heart

Ha ha!: I'm on the toilet/and my stomach drops/the roll is empty

3. Create an Image

In your writing, you want to create a new image in your readers mind with each line. Take my first haiku for example. I first talk about laying in bed. Then, I say there is a dog next to me under the blanket, so you picture a lump under the covers. In my last line, I call him a furry heater so you imagine a heater covered in fur. The image you create is more important than the syllables.

4. Performing

Lastly, you need to think about performing your haiku. As always, when you're speaking in front of a room of people, you need to project so the whole room can hear you and you need to make eye contact. Another thing to remember is the tone of your voice while you are saying your poem. Dramatic pauses can keep people on the edge of their seat, waiting for what you're going to say next. You also have to remember to be confident! And if you're not confident, fake it till you make it!

Cover Image Credit: Imgur

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