In a few weeks, the real world is going to stage a bloody coup on this little teen junta.
It's most noticeable among the jocks, who grow accustomed to being showered with praise on a level way out of proportion to what they're accomplishing. Oh, sure, if you're a rare athletic talent bound for the pros or the Olympics, congratulations, you'll be getting that praise for another decade. But at the high school level, just having the right genes, hormones and frame can make you good enough at football to win huge applause from stands full of adults trying to relive their glory years. These kids find themselves having to completely rebuild their identity and status from the ground up at age 20, suddenly living in a world where there are no longer rewards for tackling skinny 16-year-olds.
The non-jocks out there shouldn't start smirking just yet -- the game changes just as much for them. Take the class clowns, for instance. There's a huge difference between someone with a genuinely good, clever sense of humor and the kind of "bet me five bucks I won't eat this" act that gets you attention in a classroom. In fact, that kind of attention magnet is as incapable of adapting to the real world as any personality type in the entire school, including the drug dealers.