Tips to Know for Fitting in at School

Chris Diver

“In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, be cool or be cast out.” This line from the Rush song “Subdivisions” is something that is as relevant today as it was when it was written because of the topic: fitting in. Fitting in, something that nearly everyone wants to do. The desire to belong somewhere is something that people strive for. Whether it is to be part of a certain group or to be accepted by society, some people will do what it takes to get the approval of others. Some will go as far to pretend to be someone they are not simply because they want someone to give them their approval. That is where the problem lies; some people are so busy trying to fit in that they abandon everything about themselves and who they are just for the slightest bit of approval.

The first thing to look at is the root of the problem: the pressure that everyone is put under to conform to a certain way. Ever since entering the school system, people are told, “Go to college so you can get a prestigious job so you can make money, and that’s the only way to do it,” instead of telling students that it’s okay to take another path or make your own path. It’s as if someone doesn’t go to a university for four years and instead goes to a trade school or doesn’t get any higher education at all, they’re thought of as a “loser” or a “failure” even if they are successful or work a good job. Instead of promoting all the ways that someone can be successful in life, only one way is promoted in school, only one way is looked at as “successful,” and if you aren’t cut out for that way, you’re ridiculed.

It’s not only in education that there is this idea to conform; it is society as a whole. Look at the recent news about former Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens and how it was recently discovered that he’s now working at Trader Joe’s. The media made it seem that it was a bad thing that he’s working a blue collar job and mocked him instead of letting him go on his way and live his life. He is making an honest living doing a job he doesn’t seem to have any problems with. It may not be the most glamorous job, but it doesn’t mean that anyone working it should be ridiculed for it.

The idea that you have to do certain things with your life hangs heavily on people. How big is the push to join Greek Life or join clubs? If someone feels that they belong in these groups then go for it, but there is almost the culture that if you don’t join a club, you are identified or classified as a loser or a loner. If someone truly doesn’t want to be a part of something, they have every right to not want that and shouldn’t be attacked for it. Another thing to consider is to not be someone that you aren’t because you think people will like or take an interest in you. At the risk of sounding like a movie cliche: If you spend all your time pretending to be someone else, you lose who you really are.

So, if you want tips for fitting in you only need one: Don’t worry about fitting in with everyone else. Instead, be focused on what will make you happy in your life and go with it. The people that will accept you for yourself, those are your true friends. Obviously don’t go around breaking laws or hurting people, but if you’re not hurting anyone or violating any law or rules, then take these two words and run with them as your only tip for fitting in: Be Yourself.