What’s the Expiration on the Label?

No student should be perceived just from his or her label. What would that make me? “A nerd who writes for the newspaper” or “a theater kid?” What would that make some of my closest friends? “Jocky football players” or “band geeks?” They are so much more than that – everybody is. The use of these kinds of labels only feeds into the monster of social barriers and limits the perception of one’s true character. No student should be known as just a basketball player or a math nerd because both the athlete and the intellectual have much more to offer. In the world of adolescents, assumptions and perceptions rule lives. They dictate how people conduct themselves, what decisions they make, and how they treat others. Most impeding of all, they establish unnecessary limitations.

A strange phenomenon takes place in high school where students immediately set up social barriers in a predetermined fashion. Actually, I take that back; it is not strange at all. It is this way because of books we have read, movies we have seen, and lengthy epics of social status passed down through oral history generation to generation. Is life imitating art or is art imitating life?

Walking into school should be a sea of opportunities. Why set limitations for yourself? We are all guilty of it, of not talking to someone simply because you do not consider yourself on the same “social level” as him or her, whether you consider yourself higher or lower. This is absurd.

I do not think we realize how lucky we are here at Middletown South. Overall, we are a friendly student body. Walk up and talk to any random student and chances are you will meet a kind, thoughtful person. This is incredible. The fact that there are so many people to meet, get to know, and make a connection with is amazing and is something that for some reason, we do not value. Why do we not take advantage of this opportunity? Acquaint ourselves with as many people as we can? Get to know the student body as a whole?  Perhaps we are frightened to go outside of our comfort zone. Everybody deserves a chance, judging someone on a fixed bias with little authentic knowledge of that person leads to ignorance.

We are high schoolers, young, adolescent high schoolers still trying to find our way. What in the world is a social hierarchy? Students can believe whatever they want about themselves: how mature they are, how much they truly know about themselves, how comfortable they are with themselves, that they believe the person they are is the person they will be for the remainder of their lives. What in the world is a social hierarchy? No high school student is older than 18 and no student aged 13-18 has life figured out.

We are all still scared, constantly trying to prove ourselves to others as well as to ourselves. We are all uncertain children. No student is better than the next. Regardless of a student’s grades, participation in clubs, sports, and school activities, he or she is on the same playing field as every other student, still trying to figure everything out.

Something is only a big deal if you make it a big deal. There are no social barriers unless you believe there are. Go through the school day treating everyone as they should be treated: an equal, an individual, someone who is just like you.