The Osprey

Stereotyping in LOLHS

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I would like to discuss something that isn’t usually discussed in our high school: stereotypes. I see them everywhere, and when I say everywhere, I mean it. Sometimes I walk into the lunchroom and the only thing that I can think about is that “Mean Girls” scene were Janice and Damien show Cady all of the cliques. At Lyme-Old Lyme, we have almost all of them. I could give you a full list, but that would take a while.

Why do we stereotype? What good can ever come from it? My answer is that I don’t think we do it intentionally. It brings our brains comfort when we can put people into groups. We have different religions, nationalities, and social groups. Some people are even willing to be mean for the sake of their own personal gain. Calling another kid names is not cool. Shoving someone into a locker is not cool. Posting something degrading on social media is not cool. From the way I see it, the top is the worst place to be. You have to be happy all the time and keep up appearances so you always look cool.

But then another problem arises: who will be “on top?” From what I’ve seen, the kids on the top all wear designer brands and throw crazy parties that usually get busted by the cops. Many look to these kids and say, “I want to be them. I want to be on the top.” But why would you want to be that? People on the “outside” often have a burning desire to be included and fit in to this idea of the hierarchy of high school. But I’m going to tell you a little secret: Not a lot of people even know who they are in high school. We are all thrown into the same school, take the same classes, and hang out with the same people. Kids don’t know how many different types of people there are, so they think that this is it. I know that I clash with a lot of people, but I also know that I will have a totally different personality in college because I will see more types of people who may be more compatible with me.

The social hierarchy of high school kind of reminds me of the government in England under Oliver Cromwell. Kids are excited for high school, but when they get here, they realize just how confused and alone they are (for a little while, at least). This feeling of being lost is totally normal, because you are thrown into a new environment with new teachers. People work hard to be popular, to keep up that image of the perfect person. Everybody has feelings, but some kids decide to hide them. I think that holding feelings back is unhealthy, because they bottle up really quickly, and could even cause people to lash out at others. I speak from experience. When I started freshman year, I was a nervous wreck, but I wanted to remain cool and calm on the exterior so I would fit in more. Not too far into the year, I started stressing out because didn’t know what to wear and I was afraid to truly be myself. My schoolwork started to falter because I was so emotionally overwhelmed. So one day, I sat myself down and made a list prioritizing what I needed to do to be successful in my high school career. This method helped me a lot, and I even still do it. I make To-Do lists all the time when I feel overwhelmed.

Personally, I think this whole idea of a hierarchy is totally bogus. In the end, we are seen for how we act. You can push people out of your group and act like a queen or king, but just remember that the people you hurt may never forget what you do to them, because we are all the same insecure humans who are just trying to find a meaningful path in life. For a long time, I let people who think they are better than me totally steamroll me over.

Nothing good can come from stereotypes. They only bring judgement and hurt. Please don’t help this awful idea continue. Realize that you are not alone and that you don’t have to judge people and categorize them to be cool. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you wear or if you have a Vera Bradly lunch box, because they are irrelevant later in life. You don’t need to repress yourself to be cool, because it’s not who you are. Just be yourself– because if someone doesn’t like you for that, then they aren’t your friend.

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Stereotyping in LOLHS