Column: Nice is the new cool —Campus stereotypes factor into student life

Editor’s Column: Nice is the new cool

Maggie Snavely is the Self and Style editor at Ethic News


Stereotypes are widely held, simplified beliefs about specific groups. School settings tend to be characterized by these social stratifications,  which are perpetuated by pop culture and highschool movies. (Angelita Hutabarat / Ethic Photo)

Nothing puts a label on school more than campus stereotypes. Asking any student about them results in nearly the same answers. They might all point to the “jocks,” the “nerds,” or the “popular kids.” Most students can find their place among one of these groups, but not all of us have a place to call home on campus. How do we get to the point where we know exactly whether we fit in? We must also consider the question of whether we need a place to belong to in the first place. 

Finding a group where you belong can have great benefits, but it also poses some potential dangers. It’s important to remember that the search for acceptance should not start to control you. Often we become so consumed with the idea that we absolutely must have a place to fit into that we forget who we actually are. If we cannot recognize who we are ourselves, then we certainly won’t find the right place to belong. 

Tristan Barlow, a sophomore at Citrus Valley High School and manger of the Varsity Girls Water Polo, participates in Varsity Boys Water Polo and Varsity Boys Swimming. Barlow believes campus stereotypes exist and thinks of himself as the “church boy.” (Maggie Snavely / Ethic Photo)

Being comfortable with the person you are will make you happier in the long run. You will always attract people who are similar to the way you portray yourself. If we morph into someone that we are not, we won’t feel as comfortable with the people we are with. This is what can make us forget who we truly are. It is easy to feel lonely when we are surrounded by strangers. 

Though there are many stereotypes and labels that many students identify with, you must consider whether you truly fit. Many might find that there isn’t a single label that is adequate to express their personality. 

Isabella Landeros, a Girls Varsity Water Polo player, agrees that stereotypes are real and believes that she is her own stereotype: a “trendy 12 year old boy.” (Maggie Snavely / Ethic Photo)

Now, ask yourself again: do you really need to fit in? Stereotypes develop naturally in school settings, so it’s easy for students to become convinced that stereotypes are a necessity, and maybe they are for some people. However, it’s important to remember that if you feel like there isn’t an adequate label for yourself, you should not get caught up in that thought. 

You are unique and so is everyone you meet. The next time you see a person and think of a label that suits them, consider that there’s more to them than meets the eye. Remember that everyone has a distinctive personality, history, or humor; try to get to know how someone really is before stamping on a label. Who knows, maybe we will find that stereotypes are not a necessity after all.

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