It’s currently 5:19 AM and I’ve just finished a late 90s/early 2000s prom-themed movie marathon. It sounds really exciting but in actuality, it was me laying on my floor watching five of my favourite films on a grey, chunky television that has a built-in VCR.

The films I chose were American Pie, Never Been Kissed, She’s All That, Drive Me Crazy, and Mean Girls. The reason I stayed up all night watching these films was because last night was my school prom. I knew I didn’t want to go to prom, so I pushed the thought of it to the back of my mind. But for some reason, yesterday, I found myself feeling really gutted, as if I was missing out on an occasion that only happens once.

Ever since I was 13, I always wanted to have my She’s All That Laney Boggs makeover moment where I walk down a staircase in slow motion, with a new haircut and a cute dress, while Sixpence None the Richer plays and Freddie Prinze Jr. stares at me lovingly. I know that’s extremely specific but that’s exactly how my daydreams work (I guess that explains why it’s so hard for me to adjust to reality–why would I want to when everything I would love to happen to me can happen in my dreams?).

The thought of me staying home whilst everyone else was having fun at prom made me feel like I was going to be forgotten. But at the same time, I knew that if I went to prom, I would see that it’s nothing like the films I love (fashion/technology/the use of butterfly clips in hairstyles has changed since 1999). I didn’t want to crush my dreams.

So I stayed home and watched the aforementioned films, one by one, thinking back to how each of these films helped me when I was struggling, through all my years of being a teenager. There’s a part in Never Been Kissed where the teacher says to Josie, “Proms always make me sad. They’re so final. Graduation. Everyone’s scattering, moving on.” Even though school felt like a living hell, my brain only wants to remember the good memories, so now I feel like leaving school and moving on to college is bittersweet.

The films I chose to watch have helped me so much. The way it feels when I go outside after watching American Pie is extremely nostalgic and hazy. As the credits of Mean Girls rolled and I stopped the DVD and put the films away, I felt like I was closing the door on my past. I’m not saying I want to be a completely different person when I go to college. But I feel like this movie marathon was a way to close the door on the extremely nervous and anxious part of myself–I don’t want to feel like I’m not in control of myself anymore.

I know my life isn’t a film and most of you probably think that I need a huge reality check, but I can create my own world where Sisqo’s “Incomplete” is still played at middle school dances and platform Skechers can be found in every shopping centre.

I feel like this is the end of an era, but in a good way. Like “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind is playing and I’m ready to grow up.