Looking Back at What was Cool in School

Now that we’re all adults (whether we admit it or not) we know that reading, writing and arithmetic were an important part of our education. But at the time, one of the most important lessons picked up at school came from our peers – how to be cool.

A recent Slate article takes a look at the school-grounds phenomenon of “one-strapping.” While not an official term, one-strapping is something we’re likely all familiar with – and may at one point have been quite concerned with: the act of wearing a backpack with just one strap. Going to school in the early ‘90s, one-strapping was all the rage for my classmates and me. Whether its genesis was random or due, as Slate suggests, to particular pop culture appearances, was unimportant to us; what mattered was that that’s what we did; it was ours.

Of course, trends come and go. As my peers and I moved into high school and college (and started “two-strapping” – it just makes sense), and communication on Internet became the norm, AOL’s Instant Messenger grew into a must-have. Not only did it open up a world of communication we’d never experienced before, it offered the opportunity to follow the trend while – to a degree – maintaining a sense of personal expression. Anyone familiar with IM will remember the “buddy profile,” a place to leave your favorite quotes, pictures and the like, for your friends to see – all displayed, of course, in your favorite colors and fonts. Were they accessible now, I’m sure these buddy profiles would serve as a time stamp, immediately transporting us back to specific places, eras, and feelings, just as the memory of “one-strapping” does.

From French rolls to Trapper Keepers, what trends were popular when you were in school? And what are the kids up to these days? Share your experiences in the comments.

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