Social Classes Amongst Teenagers

Julian Dabydeen, Staff Writer

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When we think about us as people, most of the time we think about where we stand in the world. It’s a epiphany of our minds to tell ourselves constantly where we stand either in a group or clique, or even just in your own school or work. This way of thinking is more brought upon us teens, our generation especially. I see it as more of an issue and some of you may ask… why do you think this? It’s a great question, and I think this because I see it in my own self that I also personally think about where I stand in my group of friends or where I end up on a, I would say, “popular scale,” which sounds oh so cheesy. To be honest, it’s just what it is, no matter how cliché it may sound. At first, I thought this was insane and it was just my mind racing. After doing some research I found this to be a large issue that honestly is more looked down upon. You hear that you’ll get over it and that nothing has to change today, but you never really do and it carries on with you even into adulthood with a whole new life.

In a Reuters article by Amy Norton, a study conducted with 1,157 kids in the age group of 12 to 15 reported to have much more drastic mental health problems than what even their own parents of these children think. Those kids are bottling up emotions based on what people think of them, and they develop things such as social anxiety and depression based on what others think about them and the way they act or dress. Are there any students you’ve ever met that have greatly struggled with themselves as a person based on what’s socially accepted and what’s considered “normal,” so they pretend to be a certain way so they don’t seem off-putting? Possibly it could be you and it’s not surprising. I myself struggle with fitting into what you’d call a “social class.”

Looking at what’s laid out in Farmingdale High School, I see lots of different groups and cliques together. Everyone has a own friend group or a mixture of tens of people that fit into a group, then the groups go higher than that and you’re known based on who you hang out with and what “group” you’re in. After that, you’re more so segregated based on what class you’re in and what class your group of friends fit in, and well congrats, you’re in that class as well. Another thing that I’ve noticed is what you wear and how you act personality-wise also matters. After doing some research and even watching through some movies, this is a huge thing! It’s just a norm to be socially outcasted until you buck up and become a high school normality. Even if you’re not a outgoing person, you better be if you want to fit in, or you’ll just be considered the freak who no one wants to be. High school is already rough enough as it is, to not even be allowed to be yourself is utterly disappointing. After speaking to some of the students at our school, I asked, “Is this issue something that should largely be talked about?” The most common answer out of the answers I got? Yes.

Looking into some students and asking them some questions about how they felt I got some interesting answers. “I feel that it’s really unfair sometimes that you can’t be yourself and my friends are my friends. It feels like those social classes we learn in history,” responded one student who asked to remain anonymous. Hearing this made me think back to history and how throughout time, people’s status was based on wealth and where they came from. Would it be so odd to say there is a parallel between history and high school? More students than you think feel this way.

I wanted to write this article to address a problem because I feel we segregate each other based on social stature and the people we “associate” ourselves with. There shouldn’t be this structure of how “cool” or “outgoing” you are. You should be free to be your own human being and not be peer-pressured into being someone you’re not. Whether you’re shy or outgoing or even scared just be who you are, social classes amongst teenagers makes us fear ourselves and that’s a issue that needs to be resolved.