Don't Get on the Pole

by Ria Hardcastle

Dear NHS Ladies: 

Just don’t get on that pole, the totem pole that is… 

We, the skirt and dress wearers of New Hampton, all know that impending sense of urgency we feel upon the announcement of “formal dinner.” We write it down in our phones and pray our coaches will let us out early on that day. The night before, we look through our closets and panic when we realize that every cute outfit has already seen its debut! So we text a friend and swap skirts and hope no one notices the redundancy. 

But no matter how early we get out of our co-curricular, there is never enough time allotted to look our very best, is there? We glance at our phones one minute and still have two hours until dinner. So we take a shower, dry and straighten our hair, put on half a face of makeup, and what’s this? Fifteen minutes until dinner? Dorm rooms become runways; bathrooms are fogged with frantic showers and face powder. Heels click up and down the halls and, “Is this too short?” gets hollered to a neighbor as the clock ticks down the final seconds. 

All this for what? So that we can impress that guy or girl? Maybe. So that we can “redeem ourselves” from the last formal dinner when we were asked to change? Or, so that we can rise up the untold “New Hampton Totem Pole?” I think it is the latter. We put in all this time and effort hoping it leads to the best photos on “This Week in Photos,” which, in turn, gets us that record-breaking number of likes on Instagram and maybe a little closer to getting “best dressed” in the yearbook. This is our aspiration, our motive: to be admired by those around us for looking “on fleek.” 

But other than the unspoken status, where does this totem pole actually lead? What’s at the top? The truth is that you are probably here because you are a kick-ass athlete, or an amazing student, or a super approachable down to earth friend, or an awesome artist. We value you for how you think, and for the amazing things you do. It’s cheesy but true! You are beautiful on the inside and straightened hair and high heels don’t skew this fact. Don’t get me wrong: look good at formal dinner. But know that once your time here is over, you won’t look back and wish you spent more time getting cute. You will look back and remember your friends, your favorite teachers, and favorite traditions. So cherish that while you can and maybe don’t worry so much about your placement on the totem pole.

Maddy Schumacher