We’re only two days away from that magical night of dancing, dresses and dinner known as prom. For many of my peers, this night will hopefully be just as wonderful as all the movies say it will be. Dancing the night away with a significant other or a group of close friends, especially at the Museum of Science and Industry, is sure to create meaningful memories.
I hope my classmates have the time of their lives at prom, and I can’t wait to see how beautiful my friends will look with their fancy hair, makeup and gowns. However, I will be admiring them from afar, because I will not be attending my senior prom.
When I share that fact with people, their eyes tend to go wide as they ask me why. It’s a perfectly legitimate question. After all, prom is theoretically one of those quintessential high school events, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend time with your graduating class before everyone goes their separate ways. I’ve seen "High School Musical 3" numerous times—I know how big of a deal it is. Yet at the same time, I think the whole concept of the perfect prom is sensationalized in the media and creates unrealistic expectations for what this night should be, similar to those of a marriage proposal or spring break vacation. From elaborate promposals to hundreds of dollars spent on prom expenses, it seems to have become less of an end-of-year celebration and more of a costly endeavor dramatized through Hollywood and social media.
Instead of going to prom this year, I will be getting dinner and coffee with one of my best friends, then going to Post Prom at my school. Not only will this plan be much more cost-effective, it will also give me the opportunity to connect with someone I care about one-on-one before I head to a much livelier atmosphere. I’ll still get to see everyone at Post Prom, and hopefully win some great prizes as well. But skipping out on the dance itself is perfectly fine with me.
This is by no means an attack on prom, which I think is a great event that my school has done a fantastic job organizing. Nor is this a plea for pity, because I’m perfectly content with my choice. This is simply an explanation as to why I will not be attending my senior prom. I know my classmates will have a wonderful time, and I hope it’s everything they want it to be. However, the end of my senior year is mine and mine alone, and I want to enjoy it without worrying about what society or my peers expect of me.
Maybe I’ll look back in 20 years and regret not going to my senior prom. Maybe I won’t. There’s really no way to tell. For right now, all I know is that I’m making a choice that’s best for me. Other people might not understand it, and sure, I may not get as many Instagram likes or be able to join in all the prom-related conversations. Honestly, that’s not really what matters to me. What matters is that I have an evening I’ll remember forever – an evening spent with the people that mean the most, making memories that will last a lifetime regardless of what anyone else thinks.
Emma Chrusciel is a senior at Geneva High School. In addition to writing, she loves Broadway musicals, playing piano, and spending time with her family and friends. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.