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Conformity: High School Students And Cliques

2461 words - 10 pages

Imagine being alone with no friends and no one to talk to. Now, place yourself in a location where you are surrounded by closed tight-knit groups where acceptance from those groups is a challenge to obtain. Then, picture yourself back when you were in high school, but this time, apply the image you have created for yourself. Do you wish for acceptance? Or friendship? Do you feel confident in taking the challenges that high school will bring? High school has a significant impact on an individual’s development. Whether it is their personality or behavior, an individual who goes through high school can see changes in their characteristics. A common stereotype in high school that is largely portrayed in the media is the existence of cliques. Cliques can give an individual a sense of belonging or a sense of betrayal. These two behaviors are commonly seen with the acceptance or rejection from these groups. An immediate result from these two actions is a change in morale or confidence for that individual. Cliques exist in high school due to individual conformity. An individual conforms to the group in order to feel accepted or to feel secured. Groups or cliques in high school have a significant negative effect on an individual’s development of characteristic and personality and the reasons as to why individuals join these types are not justified.
Group formation or formation of cliques is typically seen as the stereotypical jocks, cheerleaders, geeks, or nerds. But what most do not necessarily take into consideration is that members of each group have an existing commonality between them even if most of the members do not know what that common trait is. Being a part of a group can have an impact on an individual. Through group discussion, individuals only strengthen their beliefs due to the fact that they know that they are not alone in those beliefs since they have friends that share a common belief. The tendency to conform to the group can also impact an individual where they have to accept the group’s ideals in order to fit in. There are those who conform due to selfish reason such as desiring for a sense of belonging or a sense of acceptance. In these cases, the individual does not benefit. People typically see such behaviors during high school since high school is a critical period to an individual; they either “make it or break it” in this survival of the fittest environment.
Students affiliate themselves in social groups in high school due to their desire for a sense of belonging or a sense of security. According to Dudley Barlow, in his article “The Teachers’ Lounge,” “Especially in high school, the common denominator is this idea of trying to fit in, and I feel that most of us felt like outsiders in one way or the other…. Coolness is… the Holy Grail, and so few people actually achieve that” (44). Through his many years of experience and observation, Barlow shows the readers one of the many reasons why students join such groups. Often times,...

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