But wait a minute. What if someone told you that within 10 minutes, the number of people who remember what seems to you like the worst moment of your high school life is going to be approximately one, and that one person is going to be you? Because someone is telling you that, and that someone is science.
"You can trust us. We have lab coats."
Back in 2000, researchers conducted a series of experiments to determine to what degree people thought their behavior was noticed by others. The research consisted of forcing test subjects to wear Barry Manilow T-shirts in front of observers (because science is a cruel motherfucker sometimes), then state how many of the observers they thought had noticed it, as well as putting them into a group of people tasked with making a decision and having them report on how they thought the others would rate their contributions.
The results were fairly conclusive: When made to wear an embarrassing T-shirt, test subjects predicted that twice as many observers had noticed the shirt than actually had. When put into a group brainstorm, subjects believed that others would judge them more critically and rate them as making more speech errors and offensive comments than they actually had. Paradoxically, subjects also believed that they had spoken more often than they did, and that they would be rated higher by the others on the general awesomeness of their contributions.
"And what do you think, guy in the stupid shirt who we'll all laugh at forever?"
In short, people thought their mistakes pretty much defined them in the eyes of others, when in fact everyone else cared very little about whether they wore a bad shirt or made a shitty suggestion. Scientists called this the "spotlight effect," referencing how a typical person believes they're always in the spotlight, when in fact everyone else in the room is far too busy being aware of their own imaginary spotlight to give any fucks about what's going on under yours.
While this unfortunately means that others are probably going to forget about your positive contributions almost as soon as you make them, it also means they'll forget about your colossal fuck-ups just as quickly. And let's face it, your average teenager is probably less concerned about being remembered for correctly answering that one teacher's bonus question than for the Gym Shorts Incident.
Unless it makes it to YouTube. In which case, good luck finding a new school in another country. On another planet.
So add up all of this and it becomes clear that adolescence is just the pile of shit and friendship bracelets you're required to spin your tires in for a while before they let you out onto the open road that is the rest of your life. If you spend your time there trying to succeed at being a teenager, you may never get around to succeeding at being a human being.
Andrew occasionally writes stuff. He has neither a blog nor a Twitter because he's still living in the '90s.
For more life advice, check out 5 Reasons Life Actually Does Get Better and 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The Hilarious Story of American Football Abroad.