The (Un)Popular Vote

I was having a conversation with my best friend Elizabeth about high school and how much we have changed in the past 10 years. Most of the people I interact with have only known me since I’ve moved to D.C., so they don’t know what I was like in college, let alone what I was like in high school.

It dawned on that me that 10 years ago, I started my freshman year of high school. I remember exactly what I wore to orientation (a double layer of Ralph Lauren polos because 2006 HOLLAH), who I was friends with (read: I only had three friends, and they still are my bffaeae), and that I actually haven’t changed that much (I have, however, stopped wearing double-layered polos).

To give you an idea of what I was like in high school, I will share one memory – and this isn’t the one where I happened to break my wrist during freshman year gym class. I like to think that was God’s way of telling me that I’m a better spectator than participant.

My senior year of high school was a tad different than the rest of my class. I had a few best friends, and we opted to hang out together on the weekends and watch Saturday Night Live. If I told you that we didn’t get invited to parties, I bet you wouldn’t believe it.

I wasn’t a cheerleader, a track star, or the girl that everyone wanted to date. I was the editor of the yearbook.

As you can tell, I was basically the coolest person in the class.

My senior year revolved around working tirelessly on the yearbook to ensure a top three win at the Columbia Scholastic Program of Achievement (aka Yearbook Competition). I even went as far as enrolling in “Yearbook Camp” in the middle of July at Gettysburg College.

I also didn’t win “Most Popular” that year. But I did get second place in the national competition.

My high school cafeteria was a scene out of Mean Girls. Where you sat was dependent upon your stereotype. You were, in some combination, a senior, a hot popular girl, hot popular boy, jock, nerd, goth, or redneck.

And then there was me. And my best friend Rachel.

We didn’t fit into any of these categories, mainly because we didn’t brush our hair and packed our lunches.

We didn’t fit into a stereotype, and we also didn’t have many friends. Anyone who didn’t have a table to sit at ended up gravitating towards us.

By the end of the year, we had a double-sided table full of misfits.

May finally rolled around, which meant one thing: prom. Our class, like Mean Girls voted on prom court, and the top 15 vote getters made up the senior court. And like any movie depicting high school and how stupid it is, our school announced prom court over the intercom. Why.

We were sitting in science class when the principal interrupted with the results.

“In alphabetical order …. Rachel Colasessano.”

A collective gasp came from the class. I looked at Rachel.

She laughed so hard that it became contagious.

A few names later, the principal read my name. The teacher choked on his own spit.

Every single girl in the classroom stared at Rachel. And then me. And then back at Rachel.

Meanwhile, Rachel couldn’t stop laughing.

Lunch finally rolled around and we walked into the cafeteria together. We had people congratulating us, asking us what we were wearing to prom, and inviting us to sit at their lunch table.

When we got to our table of misfits, each one told us that they voted for us both with hopes of us becoming prom queen. And at that moment, we realized how we got on court.

If you’re wondering, neither of us won prom queen. Turns out, you do have to be the most popular girl in the class to win that title.


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