They're Called "Pops"

They're Called "Pops"

Our names come on popsicle sticks.

In middle school, I was very involved in my choir. My teacher, Mr. Dover, was hilarious and made every class my favorite. It wasn't until I got to high school that I truly understood how intense choir was and how much it would mean to me.

Mr. Forrest and Dr. Cornwell were my teachers during my four years at Clover High School. They taught me how to sing out, how to not be flat when singing a note, how to perfect my solfege and so much more. The Clover Choraliers was my choir in high school. This was where my favorite music and memories were made.

My sophomore year of high school I was assigned a pop. It's almost like a big sister and little sister situation when you compare it.

They're called "pops" because our names come on popsicle sticks. Most of the time one pop will sing alto and so will the younger pop or sometimes the older pop will sing bass and the younger pop will be a tenor.

My pop was Brittany Cash and she was one of the greatest friends I had throughout high school. She was a role model to me, in life and in the chorus building. At the end of my sophomore year, Brittany, unfortunately, graduated because she was a senior.

From my junior year until senior year, when I received my own pop, I was excited yet frightened because I was worried that my little pop wouldn't have the same relationship that Brittany and I did.

Thankfully, I was proved wrong.

Hey there Jacqueline Alcala. My little pop.

Jacqueline became my pop on the first day of my senior year. I did my best to Instagram stalk her before school started so I knew what I was getting into but even that didn't prepare me for the friendship that we have today.

Being a pop isn't a ton of responsibility but you have to make sure their experience in the Clover Choraliers is a good one. Especially their first year.

Today, Jacqueline is a spunky senior in high school with so many dreams and goals. She's like my little sister; the little sister I always wanted.

I'm a sophomore in college now, but I still make the drive back home to see her and take her lunch to school, take her to school or even pick her up from school. We go to the movies or get coffee or sometimes we go to the gym at 5 am.

I always look at my life and thank Mr. Forrest and Dr. C for putting Jacqueline in my life. I'm not totally sure how much thought went into the decision of making her my pop but I am so grateful.

Not everyone has the same relationship that my pop and I have. Once I graduated, we became more than just "pops." It's still so funny going home to Clover and seeing students from my high school and them looking at me kind of funny and say, "Aren't you Jacquline's pop?"

Jacqueline just got into Wofford University, her school of choice. She got a scholarship because she's the smartest kid I know. She's the most courageous and bravest soul and I honestly look up to her a lot of the time.

I am so proud of you, pop. I love you.

Cover Image Credit: Alex Russell

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How To Make Friends In College

The 8 easiest steps to guide your own experience

Like many prospective college students, the single most intimidating fear I had before beginning my freshman year was not being able to make any friends. While making new friends may seem like a taxing chore, especially to someone like me who is shy and a little apprehensive, it is not impossible (and actually from from it). Within the first few hours on campus after arriving for move-in day, I quickly realized my fears were irrational and that making friends was going to be one of the easiest aspects of college. While making friends is an easy process that tends to come naturally to people, here are some ways that you can better immerse yourself into the social realm in college:

1. Do not be afraid to smile.

A small gesture like a simple smile goes a very long way. Whether you are walking down the hall in your dorm, across campus to class, or waiting in line at the dining hall, smile. Other people feed off of your body language and overall vibes, and by smiling people will feel more welcomed by your presence. People who feel more comfortable around you are more likely to approach you and start conversation.

2. Be friendly with your neighbors.

Your neighbors are likely to be some of the first people you meet when you arrive to your dorm. Living in a coed dorm, I have two guy neighbors and two girl neighbors, both of which have become close friends with my roommate and I over the past few months. While you do not have to be best friends with all of your neighbors, it is good to have people you can rely on to be there for you throughout the year.

3. Join clubs around campus.

Joining clubs or activities around campus is guaranteed to help you find your place and friend group on campus. Many colleges have hundreds of clubs that meet every need and like of each student. If you join a club that you have a passion for, you are bound to find other members of that club who share the same interests and goals as yourself. These are great friends to have because you can attend club meetings and events with a buddy!

4. Join intramural/club teams.

The most common misconception about joining a sports team in college is that you actually have to be adequate in the sport. Intramural and club sports teams are more focused on having fun and making memories than the competition. So pick a sport that you love, start or join a team, and go have fun with a bunch of people who have the same level of experience as you.

5. Talk in class.

While talking during class is normally discouraged, professors often encourage it so that their students have the chance to get to know one another. If you exchange numbers with the people next to you in the class on the first day, that's a couple more people than you knew when you walked in. Having a buddy in class is also helpful because you can work on homework together, study together, and text them with any class related questions you may have.

6. Participate in campus-wide events.

Whether you attend a thon to raise money or a sporting game, going to campus-wide event is bound to help you meet people. These events give you the opportunity to meet people outside of your year, dorm hall, and classes. The people who sit and cheer with you in the student's section and the people who help keep you standing at an all-day dance fundraiser just might shockingly be friends you will keep for life.

7. Do not give up.

It may at times feel discouraging if you have a lot of friends, but none that you are particularly close with. However, with time you will find your niche. There are so many people who are just like you and who compliment your personality on campus. It may take some time to find them, but once you do you will have them for life.

8. Be yourself.

Remember to always be true to yourself, and to never attempt to be someone who you aren't. You will not make friends this way and will not be happy if you do. You want to surround yourself with people who respect your true self and love that is for what it is. Embrace who you are, and find friends who cherish your quirks just as much as you do. This will not only provide great happiness but friendships that will last a lifetime.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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This Is What Happens When A 3-Person Friend Group Stops Being Friends

What was once three best friends is now two guys and a stranger.

Once in a blue moon, you meet these people and just click. It is insanely easy to get along with them and the world just seems right.

In 7th grade, there was this girl who met two guys and just that happened. They all became the best of friends; they just clicked. All the way through middle school and most of high school they were inseparable.

Sadly, things didn't stay that way.

When they first became friends, it was definitely a random combination. While they were all interested in different things, they had one thing in common: each other. After middle school, they basically spent the summer staying in touch, preparing for high school, and spending time together.

In high school, things were going great! Everyone knew them as the three kids who were always together and if someone was missing, they had the answers to where he/she was. Freshman year flew by and the three friends stayed closer than ever.

During sophomore year, one of the guys got a girlfriend, and thankfully nothing changed. They all welcomed her in and treated her as their own. Life was great for those three, now four.

But soon, things would change.

The second guy got a girlfriend and she was not as accepting of the close friendship of the three as the first guy's girlfriend. She was sometimes controlling and demeaning, and when things weren't going her way, it was no way. This caused issues within the friendship, eventually breaking it apart. Soon, it went from three (and a girlfriend) to two, and life was completely different.

Fast forward to the middle of junior year and things were getting worse between guy #2 and his girlfriend. As good friends the other two wanted to tell him to just get out of the relationship before it progressed, but he was stubborn, and he wouldn't have listened to them anyway. Over time they broke up, but the friendship took a while to get back to where things used to be.

Starting senior year, the three were back stronger than ever. It looked as though nothing had ever happened between them, and no one would ever know the difference. In the fall of that school year, guy #2 got another girlfriend.

At first, things were great, he was the same guy he'd been before the relationship. Progressively he got more distant from his female friend because of his new girlfriend, and guy #1 did nothing to stop it. The two boys still stayed close but pushed the girl farther and farther away.

Over Christmas break, the boys stopped talking to the girl altogether. For two weeks they had absolutely nothing to do with her. While they hung out together and with their girlfriends (since now they both had girlfriends), they no longer spoke to the girl they've had in their lives for the last 6 years.

Now, the girl doesn't talk to the guys as often (basically never) and when she does it's only when she has to. Things aren't the same with these three "best friends" and likely never will be again.

But here's where the plot thickens... that girl was me. This is the (partial) story of how I lost my (ex) best friends to their girlfriends.

Although only one of the two guys still has a relationship with his girlfriend, the friendship has never recovered. Soon, we won't have to see one another again. Between graduating and starting college, I will finally get my fresh start. Sure, sometimes I miss them and miss having people to talk to about any little thing, or being their female voice of reason, but I won't miss being the second choice.

They chose their girlfriends over their best friend and unfortunately it's a bit too frustrating to worry about any longer. It's time to say goodbye to a friendship that once was.

I wish them both the best in life and love, but it's time for me to finally focus on myself.

My own happy and healthy relationships.

A new beginning.

Cover Image Credit: 123rf

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