High school is the home of stereotypes. From the rugby-mad jocks to the guitar-obsessed musos, these characters can be spotted a mile off. We’re gonna see what we can find by taking a little trip into the average day of a New Zealand high school. Buckle up …
It’s the beginning of the school day and you’re making your way to your first class. You’ve just been gifted this crazy superpower where you can be friends with anyone regardless of their schoolyard stereotype. You decide it’s time to try and see what you can learn from each of these tribes.
Josh the Jock
Shortly after entering the school yard gates you spot Josh the Jock. Let’s be honest, Josh has a pretty easy path in school. The captain of the First XV is fit and muscly and never struggles to get attention from the ladies. You stop to say hi and ask how the rugby season’s going—the team is at the top of the table and set to play their rivals this weekend. When you ask Josh how he’s feeling, you expect him to be his cool, confident self, but he simply says, ‘Dude, there’s a lot of pressure. Sometimes I just wish …’ but he drifts off. The unsaid words speak volumes. Appearances can be deceiving.
As you head for the science block, you spot Muso Mike carrying a guitar case. Now Muso Mike isn’t the most popular guy in school but he’s certainly not the least popular either. In fact, since he formed his latest band ‘Punksnot Dead’ he’s drawn attention from across the year group—even from a few of the jocks! Muso Mike’s favourite bands are Metallica and Nirvana and his dream is to one day headline the annual Laneway Festival in Auckland. He also can’t wait to get tattooed, even when he knows it’ll infuriate his mum. You stop for a yarn and he tells you to come support his band at the upcoming Rockquest heats. He tells you to always go against the grain. ‘Never conform to what others expect of you. You do you.’
As you enter biology class you spot a seat next to Blonde Brittany. Let’s be honest, you’re a little intimidated by her. She’s beautiful, confident and has all the latest clothes and trends. She tells you she’s already bought her tickets to the big New Year’s Eve festival everyone’s been talking about. But when she gets distracted by her phone, you notice her boyfriend is texting some pretty nasty words. You can’t help but notice Brittany’s eyes are a bit red—being beautiful doesn’t protect you from heartache, you think to yourself. Everybody hurts.
At morning tea you approach IT Isaac. He’s got his laptop out with a few of the other nerds. They’ve all managed to tap into the school Wi-Fi to enjoy a bit of World of Wizards, the latest online strategy game. IT Isaac is a bit shy at first, but once you get him going he’ll talk for days. Your smartphone’s been playing up so you’ve gone to him for a bit of advice. He says you need to update your software. Boom! Problem solved. The IT kids get some grief from the more popular crowds, but you sense Isaac has a quiet confidence. He tells you to like yourself for who you are. ‘You don’t need everyone to think you’re cool, you just need to be comfortable in your own skin,’ he says.
You enter Maths class and spot Calculating Catherine. Catherine is a brainbox—she’s always putting up her hand with the answers to complex algebra and calculus equations. Of course, she loves impressing the teacher with her knowledge—some call her the Teacher’s Pet (much to her dislike!).You find Catherine’s focus and discipline is probably something you can learn from.
No doubt you’re well familiar with these various high school stereotypes. But despite all this classifying we like to do it’s important to remember we’re all equally loved by God, regardless of how we dress, or whether or not we’re good at sport.
Who told you that if you’re into IT you’re a geek, but if you’re into sports you’re cool? That’s some dumb high school construct. And, believe me, if you don’t learn to accept yourself as a young person—you can feel the same pressure to conform all your life.
God has made each of us unique, and when we rock our style, we are worshipping God as our creator.
But be wary of how we use our ‘tribe’ as a platform to judge and categorize others who, like us, are made in the image of God. In God’s Kingdom, we are all equal. We are all loved. We are all part of God’s gigantically beautiful tribe.
Quiz: What teen tribe are you?
1. It’s a Friday night and you want to relax. What do you do?
A) Get some mates over for a Super Rugby game
B) Go for a run and swim—you’re an active relaxer
C) Watch an Oasis live DVD
D) Play the latest Call of Duty
E) Watch an entire season of Gossip Girl
2. It’s a sunny day and you’re deciding what to wear. You choose:
A) Stubbies and a basketball singlet
B) Board shorts or active wear and a pair of Nikes
C) Black jeans! Aint no sunshine gonna get you in your shorts!
D) A long sleeve top—you don’t want to get sunburnt
E) An on-point floral outfit & white converse sneakers
3. What are you most looking forward to about winter?
A) Rugby season!
B) You’re not—you live for the outdoors
C) The rain—gloomy weather helps with songwriting and creativity
D) Mum won’t force you to go outside!
E) Cosy cafés and lattes
4. You want to go out to eat. What do you choose?
A) Fish and chips—a Kiwi classic!
B) Eggs benedict
C) Vegan burger
D) Burger King
E) Avocado on toast
5. Your ultimate excursion on a holiday would be…
A) Following the All Blacks on tour
B) Surfing in Hawaii
C) Glastonbury Festival
D) The E3 gaming convention in LA
E) A Shopping spree in Paris
Mostly As: The Jock Tribe
You love your sport, especially rugby.
Mostly Bs: The Chilled-out Athlete Tribe
The beach is your natural habitat.
Mostly Cs: The Muso Tribe
Music is your life. Your instrument of choice comes before all else.
Mostly Ds: The Nerd Tribe
You love your electronics! Being outside is never essential.
Mostly Es: The Femme Tribe
Guy or girl, you love a D&M over brunch. You own those florals.