Social cliques provide comfortable environment within community

Riley Schwengel

Writer

Perhaps the most memorable and hardest part of high school was the dominating cliques that controlled the social environment. I can’t speak for everyone, but at my high school, the kids were organized into labeled groups in school. There were the obvious stereotypes everyone sees in a teen movie: the jocks, the hot girls, the music kids, the art kids, the burnouts, the geeks and any other types that come to mind when thinking about high school.

While I was preparing for my first year of college, I wondered if those cliques would follow me to campus or whether I would have the same type of friends as I did the previous four years. It turns out that cliques somewhat followed me, and I do have similar friends. I realize now that people naturally gravitate toward other people who are similar to them. We enjoy the company of others that share our beliefs, hobbies or interests because we have things to talk about and share together. People who are dissimilar to us can be fun to hang out with once in a while, but for the most part, we enjoy the comfort of our group of familiar friends.

When I started school, I immediately found a group of people who had similar personalities to my own, and I spent most of my time with them. I felt comfortable in their presence, just as they did in mine, so I had no problem having very similar friends. When I entered the fraternity system, I naturally chose an organization whose members shared interests and made the best impression on me. I often hear people complaining that they don’t know enough people or don’t hang out with a diverse enough crowd, but I think that’s a good thing in some aspects. It’s nice to have a small, tight-knit group of friends that feels almost like a family rather than a large group of friends that you may not know all as well.

I do feel that the clique system in college is much more harmless than the one many people may have struggled with in high school. Even though there are cliques here, there is a lot more intermingling that occurs between groups. I have my core group of friends, but I’ve met a lot of great characters and different personalities that I enjoy seeing around campus and bumping into at parties and social events. This variety lets us keep the comfort of being part of a group without making us feel trapped in cliques we align ourselves with. Talking to someone with different opinions and views on life can be a refreshing change when you start to feel trapped within your clique.

It’s silly to criticize the idea of cliques as long as the hierarchy or variation exists properly. Cliques get bad raps because of the high school stereotypes, in which the groups are very exaggerated and segregated. In college, you are allowed to surround yourself with familiar friends while still feeling part of a bigger and more diverse community.

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