The Timeline Of Bar-Hopping With Your HS Friends After Finally Turning 21

by Julia Helms

There is a saying in my town that goes, "You can leave it, but it will never leave you." You grow up with the same couple hundred kids, and you attend the same grade schools and middle schools, which feeds into the corresponding high school.

However, this never really made sense to me when I went to college. I met so many new people, and the societal roles of high school fell into the shadows.

You always wonder what it would be like when all of your grade school friends come home for college breaks. The growth and change among all of you would be so present. You'd all undeniably be adults, and you'd be able to laugh at the kids you once were.

Then, I came home. I now understand what that phrase means.

Of course, it is nice to see everyone you knew as your pubescent, boob-less self, but this outing does not come without consequences. There is a pattern that seems to occur around every major holiday break when we make the inevitable decision to hit the bar with our grade school friends.

1. Getting Ready

The socialite in high school is still the socialite in her college. Not only does she arrange the fundraisers for her sorority, but she also can't shake the title when she comes home for break. She proposes that the clique from high school come to her house — like old times — to “get ready.”

Even though everyone arrives at her house fully dressed with her makeup done, she still refuses to show up anywhere alone, and she wants to make sure you all get a heart-to-heart in before the chaos of Friday night begins.

2. The Pregame

Ah, the drama before the drama. You all get together to privately judge each other and assess the crowd. This is crucial because you may need to make a few phone calls if the group looks "beat."

In addition, this is the time to make your soberest impression so you can prove your growth since last break.

3. Hour One

During the first hour at the bar, people are getting comfortable. The guy obsessed with his frat shares stories of “the craziest things he's ever seen” and continues to order people shots so they will listen. The now-college athletes leave the I'm-so-much-better-than-this corner of the room and begins to engage with the now-state-schoolers.

Meanwhile, you're feeling like you should definitely order another drink because you just ran into the girl you hated in high school and accidentally told her you loved the dress she wore to her formal. Yeah, you saw that on Facebook, not in person.

You stalked, and now she knows. And now you're awkward.

4. Hour Two

Everyone is having a great time, and... is that Haley's mom? The overwhelming claustrophobia of your hometown seems not to bother you at this moment.

Is it the liquor? Probably. Do you care? Probably not.

You realize your best friend's eyes are closed in her Instagram picture, and she should probably Uber home before she vomits like she always did in high school. "Damn," you think. "I still have her back."

5. Hour Three

Your ex showed up. You thought you'd go the whole night without running into him.

"Should I say hi? Yeah, I'm a strong, independent woman."

6. Hour Three And A Half

You realize you are still in love with your ex, and you make sure you let him know how you feel, fighting off tears that mean absolutely nothing at that time.

Your friends gesture that your ride is here, and you hop in the car, hollering at the driver to take you all back to your house.

7. The Sleepover

Like old times, you propose everyone just sleeps over, even though you know there's no room for such antics in your adult life. You order pizza on your way, and you all decide to sleep on top of one another.

You lie there until 4 am laughing about the events of your semester and admitting to adolescent behavior you still haven't shaken since high school.

8. The Morning After

You regain consciousness and realize you're not alone because your one friend still snores. You check your phone and have missed calls and texts from all your friends in the group chat from when they couldn't find each other, accompanied by texts from your ex asking if you meant what you said last night. Shoot.

You subtly pretend to gather your things, while really just trying to make enough noise so everyone wakes up and gets out of your house. You make the same plans to visit each other at college that you did before this past semester, and you search each other's phones for any salvageable pictures from last night. You post one with the caption "#reunited," and then call it a day.

Although we make amazing friends in college and beyond, there's nothing like being at a bar with the people you experienced segregated sex-ed with. Everyone will mature and change, but you can be sure those habits you all created when you were young will never leave, especially when you're back in town.

Now, time to go back to college and tell your roommate how break was "boring, as usual."