Cliques versus individuality


Moly Mehle, author of the story

Molly Mehle

The phrase ‘high school’ has plenty of different meanings. Some consider it their time to “find themselves”, others make it into a chance to get good grades to enhance their future. Some think of it as a time to meet new people that they can expect to stick with for the rest of their lives.
But high school only lasts four years. Once those four years are up, people scatter like a group of fish that sense a shark attack. As I watch seniors start to navigate the world of adulthood, I noticed people taking one of two roads.
Either they break ties with those they hung out with in high school, simply moving on and leaving those four years behind them, or they make those certain friends that they’ll go off to college with and simply never lose the bond they have.
I think back to the night before my first day at RBHS. I was a nervous wreck. It wasn’t that I was afraid I’d get lost or get bullied or something, just the thought of such a change freaked me out.
I felt similar to a little five-yearold girl on her first day of kindergarten, minus the backpack filled with crayons and markers and a big bow in my hair.
I was simply scared of change. This explains why so many immediately search to find a welcoming group to nest in, with hopes that doing so will make the four year experience a good one. We want a sense of belonging to make our journey less bumpy and with that, the stereotypical high school cliques are formed.
Having an entire new grade of kids in the same situation as me was definitely helpful. Entering RBHS as a sophomore was a whole new experience. I remember taking my first hesitant steps into the building and noticing how big and crowded the school environment was.
I had friends attending already and wasn’t worried about not knowing people, but what I failed to address in my mind was how open I was to meeting new people, which I can’t say I really was at first.
It was evident who hung out with who and who belonged to what groups of people. On the first day, especially, friends stuck by each others’ sides as if to get across the point “this is where I fit in here” to other people that they assumed cared.
What’s that word I’m looking for to sum this all up? Oh yes, cliques – such a small word with such a big purpose in high school.
Plenty of high school students are guilty of being part of a clique, not saying that’s a bad thing.
I mean, why wouldn’t someone want to conform to a group of friends that they share common likes with and are similar to?
What a shame it is when kids become so wrapped up in belonging to their group that they block off the idea of meeting new people and having a varied friend group.
Too many take who we hang out with and the image that we portray way too seriously. They band together and sometimes won’t ever break off and meet new people once they find the group that makes them feel comfortableand less alone in high school. A high school where students had diversified friend groups would be a more friendly environment.
I wish I was more open to this approach at first because I could have been more willing to meet more people and make a variety of friends if I put myself up to it. If high school students, including myself, had less of a concern about what group they belonged to, it would make high school an overall well-rounded place to be.
If a kid sees someone sitting alone at lunch, why not go talk to them? Who really cares if they’re not part of your immediate “friend group”? Some high school students worry too much about image and if being friends with a certain person is “cool” or not.
The people who hang out with others in high school will have close to no meaning after graduating and moving on to what actually matters.
Ultimately, once that last bell of high school rings, a good amount of kids will run out those doors and leave their four years of cliques behind to move on to bigger and better things.
Yes, friends are a big part of the high school experience, but cliques simply should not be.