(Why) are we all mass produced?

I’m sure you’ve noticed that most San Silvestre students have the same Kipling pencil case, the same Longchamp handbag, the same iPhone, the same laptop, the same watch, and even in most cases the same handwriting. If there is one thing I’ve recognised about students’ behaviour at San Silvestre, is that most of us have a tendency to stick in. Throughout my school years, I’ve been afraid to be different, to stand out, to give away a wrong impression. These worries have paralized me, controlled me, and forced me to conceal my true self. 

Why did this happen? What made me feel like this? And, most importantly, was I the only one?

I decided to conduct a survey on a few students, asking them two simple  questions: why are you afraid to be different and why do you think this is? Here are their responses:

Are you or have you ever been afraid to be different? If yes, why?Do you think this was developed at school or at home/ somewhere else?

Peer 1
Yes I’ll be judged and then I’ll feel bad about myself… What others think about me is very important.
I’ve developed it at school.

Peer 2
Yes People won’t accept me. They’ll marginalize and judge every single thing I do differently.
I’ve developed it at school.

Peer 3
YesYou can’t be yourself if you have 50 eyes on you watching and speaking behind your back. If you don’t fit in you’ll have a hard time… No one likes that.

I’ve developed it at school.

Peer 4
YesI’m afraid of everyone’s possible reactions. People will criticize me, and that’s a fact.
I’ve developed it at school.

Peer 5
YesThere would be too much attention on myself… I don’t really like it sometimes. People believe they ‘know better’ and judge, which really annoys me.
I’ve developed it at home and at school. 

Peer 6
YesIt’s stressful to have people noticing and judging you… I feel cornered.
I’ve developed it at school.

Peer 7
YesSometimes people make fun of me, which makes me want to hide…
I’ve developed it at school.

Peer 8
YesEveryone says you are supposed to be yourself, but some don’t realize it can be hard especially when you are in a community like school. If you are more of an introvert or shy, it can be hard to want to be different and express your true self. With that comes anxiety and stress from faking who you are, therefore not being able to be fully happy. As kids, we don’t think much about what others think of us because we just think of what would make us happier, and I think that as we grow older people’s opinions affect our daily life. Even though they might not say anything, we can tell what people think of most of the time.

I’ve developed it at school.

Peer 9
YesIf you’re queer in an all girls school you might be judged… and it is scary to come out to people. It is hard to hide who you really are, and the idea of not being wanted – of being excluded – scares me. Recently the school has tried to bring awareness of the LGBT community but it still does not feel safe to express myself in this environment.

I’ve developed it at school.

Peer 10
YesPeople frequently make you feel like you should be ashamed of being different… It can be a hurtful feeling when people do not accept you for who you are… It makes you feel like you can’t be yourself without being criticized. Being different is very good as it makes everyone unique. 

I’ve developed it at school.

Peer 11
YesIt’s almost as if being yourself is a crime. For a teenager, being accepted is more valuable than money. 
I’ve developed it at home and at school.

Peer 12
YesI’m afraid that once I reveal my true self there will be no going back, and I may start to regret it. 
I’ve developed it at school.

Peer 13
YesAlthough girls say they don’t judge, they still talk about you behind your back and find any excuse to spread rumors. Every time one expresses herself people criticize, and it hurts. 

 I’ve developed it at school.

Everyone I’ve surveyed has one thing in common: the fear of judgement. This leads me to the conclusion that San Silvestre School is not as open-minded as it seems to be. 

And now I ask, should things be like this? 

The way I see it, school is a mini-society that must prepare us for the challenges we’ll face in the future. The way to prepare us should definitely not be making us feel it is best to hide who we really are. Everyone everywhere will judge us. However, school should be the one place where, since we’re little, this paradigm is broken. No one is the same and no one should be the same. Aside from teaching us literature and physics, school should teach us that we must accept each other too, helping each student to grow and strive together in our own personal way. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s