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Oh the prom.

If you grew up watching the Disney Channel, like me, you know that the quintessential time in a young person’s life is prom. Every movie with a high school story finds a way to make prom the climax, the pinnacle, of the movie. Even for you guys, I was told that, “Prom is awesome because if you have a tux with a breast pocket, whenever you reach in there you feel like James Bond!”

For girls, it’s the night that you get to be the princess you’ve never been able to be; you do your hair, your wear a beautiful ball gown. You spend months planning the perfect night and you take your pictures and dance the night away and before you know it, you’re hanging your dress back on its hanger and putting your tux back into the bag. Prom is a Cinderella sort of night, you’re a princess for the night and you have not a care in the world, but Monday is back to school as normal like nothing ever happened. When the clock strikes midnight and you have to go home, what are you left with? I don’t want to tell you the trending dresses of this year or if you should wear a black tux or inverted tux, I want to tell you what it’s like when it’s all over and to make sure that you’re just as happy then as you were that night.

I’m in a little bit of an interesting situation because I am both a senior in high school and a junior in college. (More about that situation another time!) So I’ve been going through this year living fully as a college student with no classes at my high school but simply leaving school on my last day of junior year and not going back. My senior prom was so special because this is the first time I’ve been back with my whole class this year. What I’ve realized from this is how valuable time is and to not take things too seriously.

I’m sure that you’ve heard a million times from your mom or dad how fast the time goes but truly, it does, so I’ll tell you again. You’ve been alive for 6570 days, you’ve been in school for 13 years (assuming you’re 18.) Can you believe that? Prom is so special because it’s a milestone. Prom marks a time in your life that is held exclusively for people of your age. Soon you’ll be with your children as you tell them what you wore to prom and they’ll squinch up their face not wanting to hear you reminisce of the good ‘ol days while they pick out their prom attire! Even, two, three years later, I see people with their prom picture as their screensaver to their computer or phone because it was such a special time. Not even looking that far into the future, you plan your prom for months; the limo, the corsage, the boutonniere, the dress, the tux, the dinner, the venue, and before you know if you’re taking off your shoes and putting away your dress and tux.

Now! This isn’t to make you sad, quite the contrary, this is to say that you should cherish your prom! Prom is the fruit of your months of planning and a night that you’ll always remember. After prom, the first person I sent pictures to was my grandma in Lincoln, Nebraska, Mimi. She emailed me back saying, “Love the pictures! It is a wonderful memory and I am so thankful you had a great time…..Prom nights are something we all keep in our special memory place. I still remember my dress…wish I had a picture….treasure yours.” She is 90 years old and still cherishes her prom.

Secondly, don’t take things too seriously! For my prom, I had my mom and my date’s older sister taking pictures…and my 12 year old sister. After prom when I was looking at all of the pictures from my mom and his sister, they were perfect. Perfect smiles looking into the camera, perfect stance pinning the boutonniere and putting on the corsage…everything you would expect from a perfect prom photo shoot. Then I started looking through my phone which had the pictures that my sister took….oh boy. There were pictures of me dropping things and standing awkwardly trying to pin the boutonniere, there were pictures of my hair blowing into my face, there were pictures of my date refusing to smile and making the most cross-eyed goofy face you’ve ever seen. The one picture that she had in which we were actually looking into the camera, she somehow managed to make it a video. I sat her down and explained how she needs to count to 3 and tell people what she’s doing when she takes pictures and that next time she needs to make sure we’re ready for the pictures. After she apologized and left, I sat down and looked at the pictures that were still open…and chuckled. There was one where I looked super concerned and my date’s hand is on his chest because I thought I poked the boutonniere wrong and stabbed his chest (it didn’t he’s okay) and another where we’re standing by the lake and my hand is over my face and I’m laughing because his sister told us to just keep walking into the lake. These are the moments that my little sister haphazardly captured that hold the story. The other pictures are beautiful but what story is there?

So, my fellow Disney channel lovers, prom may not be the perfect ball-gown-tux-perfect-flawless-fairy tale-ending that you expected it to be. But! Your prom will be 100% your prom. All of the accidental boutonniere stabbings, the dropped corsages, the limos that didn’t come, the mom who’s always fixing one more thing, and the dad side eyeing his daughters date. All of it. And hopefully, you too will have a little sibling accidentally capturing the most precious moments of your story.

-Adrianne Adkins, Junior, Class of 2018

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