Taking a chance for change

By Christa Collins

They are the embodiment of high school; the reason why most
people either hate or love their high school years. You can
possibly move up the ranks to the “top,” but it’s a treacherous
road especially if you are labeled from the start.

Cliques are notorious for defining the social tier of high
school. The nerds. The jocks. The drama crowd. The mean girls. The
geeks. The outcasts. The overachievers. The druggies. Status in
these groups becomes almost important as school itself.

Every high school movie is comprised of these groups. You just
cannot escape being entrapped into one. Or can you?

The grand day of graduation comes and you finally move on to
college, the best years of your life.

College is different. It is more challenging inside and outside
of the classroom. Diversity is something new for many of us coming
from high schools and communities that are predominantly one race,
sexual preference, or religion.

College is a place where you can start fresh and anew.

Cal Poly is one of the most diverse colleges in the nation with
a student body of more than 21,000 and growing.

It is ultimately good to join and get involved to make the
campus seem like a smaller place. I understand that it helps to
have a “home” on campus, but do students get stuck in the same rut
as they did in high school?

There are over 250 clubs on campus as well as cultural centers,
a Greek system, athletic teams and honors societies. A student
should have some sort of center so they do not get lost in the
madness of classes, jobs and a social life. However, I am concerned
that yet again students latch on too quickly with those who are
just like them. How are you supposed to learn about others and
expand your social horizons by hanging out with the same people you
would have hung out with in high school?

From the second you apply to college you have already been
categorized. You are filed away by your major and thus labeled with
an immediate stereotype. You may even join an honors society
through your college. By doing this you can meet more people…in
your college.

General education courses can become your only other contact
with students in other colleges.

Clubs are a pretty safe bet. They bring together students from
all different majors for a common interest. They also have a wide
variety of selection from snowboarding to photography to religious
interests.

The Greeks have remained a fairly diverse system. Each
organization attracts students from all across the board and other
extra curricular groups on campus. They have a bad stigma set in
motion by too many movies but in the end they are more of a group
of friends joined by a brother or sisterhood bound by certain
ideals.

Cultural centers are a supportive service and are a great way to
learn about other cultures and ways of life. One can feel a little
out of place and intimidated to walk into a center of a race that
is different from his/her own, but college is about taking a chance
to learn more about the world around themselves.

Have we come to college only to be set into a new set of
cliques?

You may not be forced into a certain image but it is so easy to
fall into the same routine of gravitating towards those you feel
most comfortable with. No one else is going to confine you to a
social group of which you have to work your way out of. Only you
can do that.

Only you can make the choice to repeat high school or become a
truly tolerant and understanding college student.

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