PSAT Culture: More than Memes

By Sandy Grossman
Staff Writer

American pop culture is characterized by movies, television shows, and music that pays homage to the high school experience. Iconic films such as The Breakfast Club and Dazed and Confused remain relevant because they bring viewers back to the collective memory of high school. This memory is, for most people, unpleasant. However, the very fact of high school’s unpleasantness is what makes it so inspirational. Our generation has documented high school in a fashion fitting our own cultural trends: we have immortalized the PSAT via memes.

The PSAT is a stressful, four-hour ordeal suffered by juniors across the country. It is a struggle that most students would otherwise forget, if not for the immortality of the Internet. As soon as the test concluded, memes poking fun at the PSAT’s lengthy passages and complex math problems popped up on social media and microblogging sites.

These memes are the perfect distillation of our generation’s high school experience, demonstrating the creative outpouring that a collective struggle can inspire. These memes are our watered-down rebellion against the CollegeBoard’s explicit guidelines that PSAT material be kept private, an act that underscores the strange mix of practicality and skepticism that defines our generation. And, of course, we shared these magnificent creations through the only medium that is truly egalitarian for the American teenager: the Internet.

The collective struggle of this test has caused teenagers to commemorate our shared experience. These memes help sophomores and juniors realize that we are not alone in our endeavors. They are our version of the classic coming-of-age tale, our documentation of the teenage journeys from The Breakfast Club. The very acknowledgement of memes’ importance will start a cycle of self-abashed skepticism, but that doesn’t make the memes any less true, teenage, or touching.