I’m the girl that cried on her first day of high school, afraid of the unknown and the crowded atmosphere. Little did I know that high school would hold so many memories and traditions that I will never forget. No matter where your high school experience took place, there are a few common memories we all share.

Friday Night Lights
The thrill of watching the boys you know put up a fight every single Friday night is irreplaceable. Each of our schools had its specific song to get the crowd and football players hyped. And that song will forever be in your heart. For my EUR, it was “Hell’s Bells,” and often times, it still brings me chills to this day.

A set routine gave you sanity.
You got to school about 10 minutes before school started, went through your schedule of classes, and at the end of the day, you knew that you had to hustle to the locker rooms to change for your sports practice. You couldn’t imagine your life outside of school being anything but being filled with your sporting events and homework.

You took great pride in where you went to school.
To this day, you are not ashamed to yell chants when you see someone from high school in public. You still give your high school friends a sincere greeting when you run into them randomly. You will never forget your school colors, mascot, or the atmosphere your entire school came together to create. You were not scared or embarrassed to wear your school colors from head to toe because of how much you loved that place.

Spirit weeks: If you didn’t dress up, did your attendance actually count?
Dressing up for spirit week was not a question. You searched around your house for the most epic outfit you could possibly put together within such a short notice of what theme was planned for each day. Occasionally, you had to make a run to Savers or Goodwill, but it was all a part of the greatest and most involved tradition of your high school career. If you were the most determined and put forth extraordinary effort, you received the title of “Spirit King/Queen.” Honestly though, if you didn’t look goofy, were you really doing it right?

The Powderpuff football game was fun, but the guys being the cheerleaders/dance team was even better.
Yes, we, girls, know that football is not our specialty. However, the halftime show with a dance/cheer performance by the guys was the highlight of the night. I bet they surprised themselves with how well they could do jump toe touches because they get so high off of the ground. It was absolutely hilarious to watch.

Homecoming, your first high school dance even though it was the lamest of all of them.
Freshmen year, you tried extremely hard to look good because you didn’t know what to expect. However, as the years went on, you kept on getting more and more casual with the way your dressed and presented yourself. And somehow, the music choice kept getting worse, too. You found yourself leaving this dance earlier and earlier each year.

Everyone always looked forward to prom because of the fine dining.
As a girl, getting to wear a long dress for the first time was exciting, but I think most people were just excited because we actually got served dinner. No matter how hard we all try to look classy, we will take food in any situation. Prom was just better all around: better music, better venue, and better people (prom was exclusive to only upperclassmen).

Senior nights were bittersweet.
You were ready to move onto the next chapter, but at the same time, you knew you had to leave your beloved team behind. And that broke your heart. To this day, I still think back to the days I lived and breathed cheer. 6:30 AM practices were always a struggle, but they were all part of the experience. And it was an experience I would never change for the world.

High school “lasts” were heartbreaking.
You always wanted to end on a good note, whether it was your last sports game, your last grade for a class (anxiously awaiting to see if you got that A, so you could exempt the final), your last walk through the hallway, or ultimately, your last day as a part of that school.

No matter where you are today, your high school will always be a part of you. You carry a piece of it in your heart wherever you go.

As they say in High School Musical, “Once a wildcat, always a wildcat!”