From Mav: A funny thing about being trapped in your house, along with the rest of the world, for a nigh global quarantine… people’s reliance on social media has gone way way up. And in doing so I’m seeing way more memes passing around than normal. One of the most recent that I’ve seen populating Facebook is the whole “hey everyone, post your high school senior photo!” thing. I never did it… mostly because I don’t really care to follow most memes like that. But I have enjoyed looking at them… mostly because it’s interesting to think about what qualified for fashion 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago.
Anyway, I started finding it more and more interesting when I saw people post…uh… countermemes that argued that the high school senior photo meme was particularly insensitive to all of the high school seniors that are suddenly not having senior photos or graduations at all because of all of the lockdowns we’re now all living under. Apparently the creator of the countermeme assumes that the original trend of posting the senior photos was to be in solidarity with the kids who aren’t getting their graduation because of quarantine. Honestly, I hadn’t heard that. I just assumed it was a way for us to look back at how tragic everyone’s hair was or whatever.
But anyway, that got me thinking. How frustrating is the meme to actual high school seniors? What is it actually like to finish your senior year — the year that’s supposed to be full of graduation ceremonies, photos, skip days, pranks, proms, photos, smoking joints in the basement, sex under the bleachers during homecoming games, one last huge keg party that gets out of hand and wrecks your parents house and you have to clean it up before they get back from a weekend getaway so they don’t cancel your summer trip to backpack across Europe all while trying to hook up with the girl you’ve had a crush on since junior high only to find out that the annoying nerdy girl with the glasses and ponytail is actually really cool and hot once she puts in contacts and lets her hair down, she’ll be the love of your life that you will totally not be breaking up with the first week of freshman year in the fall (I’ve watched A LOT of teen movies… maybe too many) — to the world being shut down. Is it really a big deal to suddenly just be ripped away from hanging out with the friends you’ve seen every day for the last 12 years and may never really hang out with again once you go to college or does the internet age just fix all of that? I actually thought for a moment or two “wow, I really wish SOMEBODY would look into that and figure it out.” Then I remembered that I’m supposed to be a cultural scientist or something and we have like a whole internet show just for this sort of thing and that “somebody” is in fact me.
So that’s what we’re going to do on our next show. I found out my mother’s neighbor, Tristyn, is in exactly this boat. Tristyn started a youtube channel on her 18th birthday, celebrated the day after her homestate implemented a state of emergency and a total lockdown to talk about both what it’s like to be going through this as she prepares to go away to college. Similarly, our longtime “official podcast teenager,” Sophie is in the same boat. She’s also graduating this year and finishing up high school… on a computer from her living room. I’ve asked both girls to come on and talk to us about their experience. What’s it like to be in this unique experience. It’s my suspicion that neither of them care about these memes one way or the other… 18yos are too cool to use Facebook anyway. But I am wondering what they do care about. What are the real issues? What’s the good and the bad of all of this? What are they worried about? And here’s our chance to find out.
So, let us know. What do you want to know? What are you wondering about how life is for a student in this situation? If you are (or know) a teen going through this, i’d love to hear from you(them) as well. Do you want to participate? What are their thoughts?