OP ED: Does Your High School Reputation High School Stalk You?

Daniela Christian, Sophomore, Photography Editor

In an age where everyone has a digital footprint, one’s best and worst moments are in the spotlight for colleges and future employers to see. As nothing on the internet ever truly disappears, it is becoming increasingly difficult to escape your high school past and reputation after receiving your diploma.

Everyone has different attitudes about high school, ranging from high school being the peak of their life to it representing the epitome of their awkwardness and self consciousness. From poor fashion choices to illegal activities, many students regret decisions they made in high school once they have graduated.

For most Pelham high schoolers, the next step in their life is to attend college. Many kids are unaware of how their social media presence is tracked by colleges, especially by students who want to be recruited for college sports teams. Every inappropriate post and comment can be traced back to a student and be negatively used against them.

An article written by the staff of Next College Student Athlete, an organization that helps students gain athletic scholarships, said, “Monitoring your social media accounts is going to be a key part of your recruiting process, because you may be dedicated to posting only positive content on your accounts, but your friends may not follow suit.”

Students should be aware that seemingly harmless posts on Instagram or thoughtless pictures on Snapchat can have a severe impact on their future and professional life. And in an age where every cell phone now comes equipped with a camera, one’s thoughtlessness can now be preserved forever in screen-shots or video. In an August 22 article for USA Today, writer Josh Hafner reported on the case of one young woman who lost a coveted internship with NASA after engaging in a profanity-laced exchange of Tweets without realizing that the person with whom she was interacting was actually a former NASA engineer and current space council adviser Homer Hickam. According to a CBS report 18-year-old Bronson Harmon had a scholarship offer to attend California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo rescinded when he was caught on camera yelling a homophobic remark during a white nationalist rally. Many have lost their jobs and their reputations are in tatters, despite their cries that their filmed misadventures “don’t really reflect who I am.” That’s a tough claim to maintain when the video of your antics are getting a million “hits.”

As students are applying to college and getting ready to move on to the next step in their lives, they should be aware that it might be harder than they planned to drop a bad reputation and start anew. Seeing as high school consists of some of the most shaping moments in one’s life, events, and experiences that can change their future, all students might want to put more effort into all aspects of their lives: social, academic and physical. It is best not to bet on that drastic change in personality that many teens expect upon their exit from high school.