(Photo by Sarah Komisky)
Life Lessons from Prom
By Sarah Komisky
When you ask someone about 10 years removed about their prom, there are usually two responses: smiling or eye rolling. Looking back, I guess you can say what makes or breaks this event is how we let it define us. Let me explain.
If you’re a junior or senior year, congrats! High school isn’t easy and you’ve kind of figured that out already. I mean, between peer pressures, cliques, and acne! Seriously! But now you’ve come to the end, why not celebrate prom by making it a night to remember? This event only comes once a year and even if you’re the “too cool for school” type, I say, go! But before you do, here’s some ways to make it a great night, free of prom hangups. Enjoy these lessons learned from a girl who has gone before you to prevent future eye rolling from prom expectations that don’t have to define you.
Lesson 1: Let Go of Having to Have a Date
When I went to prom having a date was a big deal. Like a really big deal. So big you had to have someone in order to not feel like a nerd or reject (so not true!) One of my friends felt so pressured that she asked a hunky football alum she vaguely knew only to be ditched so he could hang out with his old buddies (ugh!) Don’t let that be you! Decide beforehand that your worth doesn’t depend on whether or not you have a date. And if you get asked, choose your date wisely! Don’t be desperate, you’re worth more than that.
Lesson 2: Go in a Group
Talk about pressure! One-on-one dates become too much too soon for your teenage days. While there are some mature teens that date, I believe high school is a time to have fun with friends, discover your interests and pursue God with all your heart. This is not a time to focus on romance. This is why I believe going to prom in a group is a better option. When I went to prom, I went with my boyfriend at the time and we met up with friends at the dance. Looking back, I think a healthier option for me would have been to go with a group of friends who knew me well and wanted to just have fun and be silly on the dance floor. Take time to make memories with the friends. You’ll have time for boyfriends later on. Focus on those who’ve traveled the journey with you and make a memorable moment together.
Lesson 3: Be Yourself
Don’t let others put a label on you. Be you. Wear what makes you feel pretty. You don’t have to look like everyone else! I remember when I went to prom everyone was doing updos. I loved fashion and copied this picture of a celeb’s hair I liked. It was a messy and I wore a dress that was pastel yellow (not the popular color), but I loved it! On the other hand, I did get a spray tan (lol everyone was doing it – not a reason to get one). It was fun for the night. But my point here is, be you! You don’t have to look like everyone else. It’s your night so shine because God made you unique with your own style and personality! So be a trendsetter, not an imitator.
Lesson 4: Ditch the Drama
I went to prom and never hung out with my best friend – true story. Although it was fun to hop around various circles, it was weird that there was this disconnect between me and the friend I hung out with the most. Girls, prom drama spreads like wildfire. Avoid it at all costs. I’ve seen it all. Girls fighting. Guys fighting. It’s the night that things can go down if you let it – don’t! That’s not what the event is for. Anger erupting and tears shed over who is going with who and who’s in the royal court is not how you want to spend your night. You’re awesome already and don’t need to be in the school court to prove it. Believe me, a year later, and you all will be on the same playing field in college. So opt out of cliques and don’t feel pressured to meet others’ standards. Enjoy yourself and be drama free.
Lesson 5: DIY
Going in a limo, eating at a fancy restaurant, and getting an awesome promposal were huge when I was in high school. I remember a guy got the band kids to play to one girl at my school during lunch and she turned him down! Guys have high expectations to pay for a lot and outdo all their male peers. Note to girls: how are you expecting this guy to pay for this––he’s only seventeen! Seriously, we put so much pressures on ourselves to feel apart and maybe it’s not necessary. Maybe your parents can’t afford it. So how about DIY photos with an instant camera, creating a picnic or home-made dinner night with friends, and driving your own car? Defy expectations and opt for budget friendly choices that are just as good.
Lesson 6: Dance with Dignity
Before there was twerking, there was freaking. Ah yes, dating myself here. Missy Elliot? Enough said. I remember feeling like I was the only person along with my date not dancing provocatively with one other. Even some Christian friends I knew were compromising on the dance floor! While we did stand out, I felt good for maintaining integrity that night. While you may feel alone, it’s important to remember that giving into the pressure to dance inappropriately is compromising who you are as a Christ-follower. While it may be the expectation, you can be the exception. Have fun, don’t lower your standards and shine Christ.
Lesson 7: Choose Sexual Integrity
I would say that while prom is incredibly fun, there are many temptations that come with it. Another year, I was tempted to go with the wrong guy, an unbeliever, to prom. Thank God, I didn’t. But beyond date choices, there are all sort of lures that we need to guard ourselves with such as going alone and the expectation to have sex. Hold out for honor. Choose a good circle of friends to go with for accountability and don’t place yourselves in vulnerable places (i.e. alone in your car, isolated at the dance). Establish your boundaries beforehand and ask a good friend or mentor to hold you to them. This night is one night and it has the potential for awesomeness or destruction that lasts beyond prom. Choose the course you will take wisely.