Is prom overrated?


One of the pinnacles of high school is prom. It’s only for juniors and seniors unless someone brings an underclassman for a date. People spend thousands on dresses, shoes, and suits, not to mention corsages, makeup, and hair. Overall, prom is costly, but very important for a high school student– or so we are told.
This was my first prom, as I’m a junior. I was excited because I was told over and over again how exciting prom is and how post-prom was even better. The school puts together both of these events, with prom being more fancy and post-prom being relaxed. Everything I’ve heard of prom has been outstanding, great experiences, and the most memorable moment in high school. Even movies and shows make it seem important. “High School Musical 3” even has an entire song about getting ready for it, called “A Night to Remember.” And, as we all know, “High School Musical” is the best place to look for a relatable high school experience.
But is prom as amazing as everyone makes it seem? From my little experience, yes and no. The actual prom starts a little late, making post-prom run very late. For most people, staying up late isn’t a problem, but it is for me. Add in the fact that most people also have to drive home afterward, and you’re in for some danger. High schoolers are already bad drivers, but when tired and in pain, they are even worse. Dancing hurts the feet and legs, and heels make that so much worse.
But, I will admit, the dancing was the best part of the whole night. They (mostly) played songs that everyone knew and could dance to. Once everyone got out of that awkward standing around phase, it was a blast. Dance circles formed, people crowd surfed, and I’m pretty sure the floor has dents from how much we jumped. I didn’t ever feel like I didn’t fit in, simply because there wasn’t time to. That could just be my personal experience, and I can’t speak for others.
However, it was slightly upsetting how they didn’t seem to play requested songs. I do understand that they want to play songs that everyone can dance to, but I think it was slightly mean to make us feel like we had a say in it. The songs they played were good, but they weren’t the ones I, nor any of my friends, requested. Also, they only played the “Macarena” (the most dancing song to ever exist, aside from “Cha Cha Slide”) after most of the people had left.
Post-prom was a lot less fun. After getting changed into PJs, we went to the NDSU Memorial Union. You go in, get a few free tickets to put into prize bins, and then roam free. They had some food and a lot of activities, all of which had decently long lines. I was absolutely exhausted from dancing, especially since the DJ kept telling us to jump. There was no more energy to be excited about the money grab or pool, and the prizes were honestly lackluster from what I’ve heard. I was told that some years there were TVs, game stations, and straight-up cash.
While I am grateful for them putting prizes out, and there was an iPad at the tail-end of the night, it was also a bit of a let-down from the rumors. That’s probably my fault for getting too excited based on just rumors though. They also set up a ticket system, which I mentioned, where you win tickets and then put them into bins for different prizes. In previous years, they only put your name in once, giving everyone an equal chance.
I used a Google form to check on other North students’ thoughts about prom. Out of 79 responses, 49 students liked post-prom more than prom. Out of 78 responses, 31 thought prom was as good as people make it seem, while 22 didn’t. Also out of 78 responses, 54 people said they would go to prom next year if it was the same as this year. Overall, it seems people enjoyed post-prom more, but still would go to regular prom again anyways.
However, there were a few additional thoughts added. One was the lack of thought for students with sensory issues. Prom was very overwhelming, with loud music and flashing lights, which can cause sensory issues and makes it hard for people to attend a very popular event at school. Another popular opinion was the music and the DJ. People said the music was not that good, and that the DJ should be “vetted.”
In my opinion, prom is not all it’s hyped up to be. It’s incredibly fun and I enjoyed it very much, but in a different way than I was expecting. I loved dancing and seeing everyone dressed up, but it was not as grand or exciting as I was expecting it to be, or as many people have shown it to be. I think prom is an amazing thing to go to in high school, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t overhyped and made into something it’s not.