Popular. Nerd. Geek. Loser. Goth. In every school, there is always some kind of label for different people and their cliques. The levels of labeling have increased dramatically as we have reached newer generations, and it is especially in high school. People who categorize others may not be aware of the damage they may be causing to another’s self-esteem. This can cause the victims of stereotyping to question their way of life and the interests that define them. Even when we believe cliques can be avoided, the labels manage to sneak through the surface and cause problems.
Judging or being judged. Everyone has been faced with at least one of these two scenarios. Being classified into a group can affect the way you see yourself. Sure, people can tell you who you are, but only you can decide whether you cave into the words of hate or find your path outside of the hidden walls. “You have to come to terms with your feelings about it. No matter what you do, you’re going to get labeled; it is inevitable. If you learn to love yourself, then the labels won’t affect you anymore,” explained Jenna Norton, a junior at Villa Park High School. Maggie Hillebretcht also describes her feelings towards the topic. “I think [labeling] is stupid and there is no reason to put [labels] on other humans; it is a waste of time because everyone is equal. People need to realize other peoples’ messed up opinions just reflect them, not you. It shows how low they are just for labeling you.” Learning to love who you truly are can allow a wondrous amount of greatness in your life.
Labeling can also be considered a form of bullying if used poorly, such as name calling. It all depends on the situation of the person labeled. Everyone has different background and a unique group of insecurities. Some have a higher tolerance towards those insecurities than others. “It depends on the situation of the person. Being called popular can be harmful of the person feels being called popular is a bad thing,” explains Kimberly Baez, a freshman. Along with Kimberly, Cindy Tran, another freshman student comments, “Labeling can actually hurt people; people should’t do that because everyone is the same in some ways. You can never know what is going on with a person. If they are different, it is a good thing; they are trying to be an individual.”
Even with the depressing facts of labeling, there are multiple ways to help ease those insecurities of labeling. “If you like to do something, don’t let someone change your point of view on something you just keep doing it,” Cindy Tran informed. Freshman Kyle Hoederlin believes friendship is more important than mean stereotypes, “I think people shouldn’t care about what others say unless their friends were the ones saying it because nothing matters more than what your friends think of you. Without them thinking positive of you, you can’t really be happy. If someone else was doing that to me, I would tell them to shut up then I’ll be over it and ignore it.” These are only two of the processes one can take to achieve success with coming to terms with themselves.
Even in the greatest of minds, troubles and insecurities can still make their way into a person’s life. However, it is how you use those insecurities to channel a better you. Only you can decide what your path in life becomes. Will your life follow the path your peers set for you or will you create your own path for what lies ahead?