Reality and small towns
By Sadie Anderson of East Range Academy of Technology and Science
The difference between the cliques in a school in a big city and the cliques in a school in a small town is simple. In cities, cliques are define — not like they are in movies, but still defined.
In towns like the one I live in, you don’t have those. Small towns are a melting pot. You’re with the same kids from kindergarten pretty much until you graduate. You can’t get too cliquey because if you do, you won’t have any allies at all.
However, even in small schools we still have the basic cliques: the preps, the jocks, the druggies, and the losers. I’m a loser, that would be my clique. But I embrace it because the thing with being a loser is you have loser friends and they’ll love you no matter what.
Losers don’t have to act a certain way like you do as a prep or jock. You’re not defined by what you have like druggies. Losers are not outcasts like they are depicted in movies; they just find a different way to be happy with themselves.
School life as a loser, on the other hand, can be difficult. Being a loser means you’re an easy target for the other cliques that need to pick on others to build themselves up.
High school is harder than most adults remember. Most adults say teasing builds character, that it doesn’t really hurt anybody. But when you go home every night crying, I have to say you’ve built enough character. When you constantly feel like your heart will explode because you’ve been holding in a scream for so long, I’d have to say it’s starting to hurt. After a while there is only so much a person can take.
Last year I reached my limit because everyone has their limits. I switched from the public school right across the street from my house — the one with all my friends and people I’ve known almost my entire life — to a small charter school about 45 miles away.
Photo courtesy of Sadie
That move made all the difference. My new school has no cliques because I think everybody there understands what it’s like to be an outcast in some way. Everybody there seems to understand that cliques don’t matter. It’s comfortable for me there, effortless. I had to try in my old school, and in my new one it’s easy.
What I would tell other teenagers my age is find out who your friends are, find out who will stand by you even after the lines in the sand have been drawn and you’re alone on one side. And find out where you belong.
If you don’t belong with one clique, or in one school, keep moving until you find somewhere that you love. Keep trying until you’re happy, because you shouldn’t have to settle for less than the happiness you deserve. You do deserve it.
I’m just now figuring out that you can be happy in school.