Column: Fight the pressure to fit in

Madison Easley, Staff Writer

When you are a teenager, it can be difficult to imagine a life beyond high school — a life beyond the four walls of classrooms, tardy bells, prom, lunch lines, and crowded hallways.

High school is just one small fraction of our lives. There will be a day when all of us walk down the hallway for the last time.  We will go on to live a life where the time we weren’t invited to that cool party will become a foggy memory.

There is a lot of pressure in high school to fit in. Everyone wants to be well-liked. This, in itself, is normal. But to what extent does it become problematic?

These are all thoughts that have been circulating in my mind recently.

 A week or so ago, I mindlessly clicked on a video of an interview with two teen Youtubers in which they briefly discuss fitting in. Ethan Dolan, a name that many teen girls recognize, said, “But what does fitting in really mean? Are you even being yourself if you’re fitting in? I feel like everyone is different, and the people who fit in are just trying to be someone that they’re not, so they’re all [faking] it together.”

I also came across the song Good Old Days by Macklemore, which discusses how quickly time passes and the importance of not procrastinating happiness.                                               

In the fourth verse, Macklemore lists regrets he has from when he was younger. In one line he says,”I wish I wouldn’t have worried about what other people thought and felt comfortable in myself.”

I thought about how to enjoy your life during high school, really.

Of course, everyone will smile and post happy pictures on their social media platforms, but I wonder which students are truly content with their high school life.

Is it the students with the parents who are fortunate enough to buy them all of the name brand clothes?  The students who dress and present themselves in a way that causes them to stand out? The students who are in the popular clique? The students who are seen as outcasts?

So, again, what is “fitting in” really? It’s being accepted and socially compatible with a group. This is not where the problem lies.

Problems arise when someone acts like the other people in the group in order to fit in.

We hear people preach about being yourself all the time, but it is true that in high school — where there is the looming feeling of being scrutinized by one’s peers — that can be a daunting task.