Student groups divide our culture but overlap is possible

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Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

It’s unavoidable that people will always migrate to what’s familiar because that’s what’s comfortable. More often than not the same type of people that we surround ourselves with in high school transferred here to the college experience.  

Coming out of high school I have experienced my fair share of stereotypes, cliques and culture variety among a uniform student body, so much so that it was obvious the faculty had even fallen victim to this divide. 

“The Breakfast Club” may have said it best when laying out the student stereotypes that we have come to know so dearly. 

Nearly 80 percent of Jewell’s student body are student-athletes, so from a broader perspective, there is a mutual respect there. We all understand that we all have practices, workouts, meetings, and games to attend on a daily basis on top of our studies, yet it’s not like everyone is friends because of that. 

A football player and a soccer player will, in most cases, not mesh. I am speaking from personal experience with no intention to offend soccer players. This principle carries over to other student groups as well. William Jewell College has a historic music program. Taylor Smith, a first-year biochemistry major, attests to this. Smith and her friends have claimed a stronghold over the lobby of Mathes Hall, politely greeting those that come in and out of the building. It’s a concentrated little group of those with a laundry list of responsibilities who always come together at the end of the day to bond over their developing time management skills. 

This subculture has the ability to exist due to the other subcultures surrounding it. There are athletes, music kids, and science kids all in this little circle in the lobby, collectively creating something bigger than themselves. This may sound dramatic, but it’s just kind of cool. 

From a first-year perspective, there’s an obvious divide between the classes. As a first-year, there’s this pressure to interact with everyone around you, and rightfully so. It’s important to invest yourself into the culture that surrounds your environment, but it’s also really difficult. The best metaphor I could come up with is watching a movie so bad that it’s good. You just have to keep smiling and make the best out of some stuff no matter how terrible times are. 

Nonetheless, student culture will be what it is on most levels of education. It’s definitely consistent in that sense, though there are some inconsistencies in the general formula. Jewell is very different from most colleges, and I believe that it’s unique traits manifest subcultures that allow students to develop not only as students but as people as well. 

This is what Jewell prides itself on. On the many campus tours I took for sports and for school, everyone always talked about the concentrated class sizes and campus that literally and metaphorically makes everyone closer. Granted, no one is going to like everyone they meet. But despite everyone’s differences, there are still powerful similarities that come with simply being a student here, so that it’s hard not to see at least one familiar face around any part of campus. 

There’s so much overlap between groups. Debate kids are on staff for the Hilltop Monitor, and tennis players are in the choir.

The little moments are the primary contributors to the broader culture here at Jewell. Most of my favorite memories I’ve made in the month that I’ve been here is walking two or three doors down from my room and just talking to people. That’s one big lesson I’ve learned recently, you don’t have to be doing something to have fun. Each dorm and every floor are their own subcultures. There are inside jokes between every dorm that we’ll never know, and those are the things we’ll remember the longest. Jewell has allowed me to meet a lot of people, more than I ever thought I wanted to. So far it’s pretty much thrown buyer’s remorse out the window for me, as my relationships will only continue to grow. 

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