(Editor’s note: Inspired by the movie “The Breakfast Club,” student columnist Sarah Oliveras chose to create a five-part series based on a famous quote from the 1985 film’s conclusion. The movie quote, paraphrased as the first paragraph below, comes from a letter written by a group of stereotyped students serving detention together. In the movie, the salutation is “Dear Mr. Vernon,” the principal of their school. In this column, Oliveras revisits the first of the film’s high-school stereotypes — the “brain.”)

OliverasDear West Linn residents,

“We accept the fact that we are seen as whatever stereotype we are viewed as. You see what’s on the outside, like the cover of a well-written novel. But we think you’re crazy to think that is all there is to us. You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal.”

A brain. The try-hard, studious know-it-all. The kid who is antisocial and aces the tests without putting in the effort. Most likely, you know (or think you know) someone like that. However, the truth is you don’t know him or her. You see the outside, but you haven’t taken the time to be formally introduced to the brain’s inner brilliance.

When you encounter a brain, your mind becomes clouded with first impressions based upon the stereotypes that seem to be set in stone. Such stereotypes may include social awkwardness, easy A’s and no life outside school.

Social awkwardness too often seems to be associated with academically inclined people when, in fact, that’s most often not the case. It does seem as though brains invest more time and energy on an assignment then they would on a conversation.

One student at West Linn High School said, “I know a lot of people who are very smart and funny. (They) interact with people and have fun with life.”

This is absolutely true. Just because someone is smart doesn’t mean that person can’t socialize well. Being smart is not all a brain has to offer the world.

Another common misconception is that smart people’s academic success comes easy to them. However, they work extremely hard to earn the marks that they do. Many of them put in countless hours to ensure their success.

In some cases, they don’t always ace tests. As in the case of that same WLHS student, sometimes they have a difficult time taking tests and feel that there indeed is a pressure to please teachers when it comes to test grades.

Keep in mind that this student is extremely intelligent and dedicated to school work, but this student isn’t perfect. I’m not saying this as an insult, I’m saying it as a fact. No one is perfect, not even the “brains” of the world. And that is perfectly OK.

Having no life outside of school is another stereotype that is commonly linked to intelligent people. However, this is far from the truth. Many of them are involved in several extracurricular activities such as softball, golf and mock trial.

As mentioned earlier, being smart isn’t all that smart people have to offer the world, it is simply the thing that they excel at.

The “brains” of the world are not just brains. They are so much more. They are all star athletes, basket cases, dazzling princesses and the occasional criminal, like the rest of us.

Sarah Oliveras is a sophomore at West Linn High School. She is contributing a regular column to the Tidings this school year.

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