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Don't stick with those first impressions

Editor’s note: Inspired by the movie “The Breakfast Club,” student columnist Sarah Oliveras chose to create a five-part series based on the stereotypes explored in the 1985 film. In this column, the third in a series, Oliveras considers the film’s third high-school stereotype — the basket case.

OliverasThe basket case, more commonly known as the outcast, is the kid known for introvert practices such as eating solo, being socially awkward and, by society’s standards, anomalistic. There is a chance that you may know a basket case; however, it is more likely that you only think you know one.

The “lone wolf” stereotype associated with outcasts is completely erroneous. Just because people are labeled as a particular stereotype doesn’t mean that they fit it. Whilst conducting an interview with a West Linn High School sophomore, I learned that although outcasts may not have a large friend group, they consider the friends they do have to be family.

Going along with the lone wolf stereotype, many people believe that outcasts are socially awkward. I think this depends on the situation that they are in. When with their friends, they feel comfortable, as most people do. However, among “socially accepted” people, they feel cast out. Why is this?

As clichéd as this question sounds, ask yourself this: What is considered normal? At West Linn High School, the “normal” student has honor-roll status, a substantial group of friends and is involved in an extracurricular activity of some sort, whether that be an athletic or academic club.

We say that there are no societal standards, yet we judge people with preset standards in mind.

Judging people is not necessarily a bad thing; it is a natural human habit. However, making assumptions based upon your judgmental first impression of people is where the problem originates. This problem includes and focuses the pressure to fit in. Remember, however, that pressure is a choice. If you choose to ignore the standards set by society, that overwhelming pressure can be eliminated.

Regarding outcasts, the same WLHS student stated that they don’t believe they would be seen as they are if there were not preset standards. For example, one of the most common pressures comes not from other students but from their parents. The pressure that parents put on their children to meet their personal standards is at times almost equivalent to the pressure from other students, my sophomore source said.

In order to solve this problem, we as a society need to realize several things. First, there is no “normal” and therefore, there should be no preset standards. I believe that many have been hypocritical when it comes to this. Many people say that there is no “normal,” yet they don’t act upon their beliefs. Realizing this will relieve the pressure that comes along with attempting to meet those standards.

As for the basket cases, there is more to them than the typical stereotype associated with them. For all we know, they could be brains, athletes, princesses and criminals, just 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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