As high schoolers, our identity is often what we consume rather than our actual personalities. And often, there’s an “in-list” of what to consume. It’s what you felt when you forced yourself to read “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green. The confusion in middle school when you opened your closet and saw the words Abercrombie and Fitch on every single one of your shirts. That sour taste in your mouth when you hear “Can’t Stop the Feeling” on the radio, but leave it on anyways.
That’s why the people at our school, who don’t give in to pop culture, are our rebels. It’s too easy for us to just do what the people around us are doing. And it’s harder than it sounds to say, no, I don’t like that new Drake song, and take the time to discover our own version of pop culture.
In middle school, junior Daria Syskine stopped reading fantasy fiction once she realized she could just read “Lord of the Rings” and be able to predict the plot of most other fantasy novels. Not only is Syskine a voracious reader, after years of curating her reading tastes, she now prefers to read classics rather than series like The Hunger Games or Divergent.
“I like books that are more complex and less focused on action or teenage love triangles and more on character,” Syskine said.
For instance, one of Syskine’s favorite authors is Ray Bradbury, the same Bradbury who wrote Fahrenheit 451. Just as her favorite genre used to be fantasy in middle school, Syskine now has a thing for dystopian novels. Unfortunately, Syskine’s unusual taste in literature leaves her few people to talk to about her readings. Just recently, Syskine read Watership Down by Ray Bradbury. But when she approached her friends and helplessly referred to the book as “the one about the rabbits,” all she received were blank stares.
“I’ll find a book with a lot of cool ideas,” Syskine said. “But there’s no one to discuss it with.”
However, the rejection of the more popular and cliche ideas comes from being exposed to them.
“I don’t like outright rejecting [pop culture]because usually there’s a reason that it’s popular,” Syskine said. “I’ve read Hunger Games and Divergent so that I can at least know what I’m talking about if I tell people I don’t like it.’
Rather than defy pop culture, sophomore Georgiy Bondar blatantly laughs at it. Knowing how opposed to Trump the majority of MVHS is, Bondar often comes to school sporting Trump apparel and the Kennedy Middle School P.E. uniform.
“It’s cause I like [Trump] and a lot of people at this school don’t,” Bondar said. “And it’s fun to mess with people.”
Although Bondar does not usually get many responses, one person has told him to f-off at school before.
“I don’t care if someone yells at me,” Bondar said. “I just think it’s funny.”
Bondar admits that much of his behavior stems from his natural tendency to mess with people, but he also dresses the way he does to oppose the mainstream culture at MVHS.
“I don’t like social media, and a lot of the culture here stems off of that,” Bondar said.
Bondar’s opinions may not be popular, but at least he tells MVHS what they are.
It’s not just these two that have decided to reject the grain. There’s a real hipster within all of us here at MVHS. We just need to put in the energy to find it.