Thursday, March 3, 2011

Did You Belong to Any Clique in High School?

So I chanced upon this post from The Contemps:  Disco or Preppy - What Group Are/Were You In? and instead of just commenting with my answer, I thought I could share this on my blog as well as I thought this would make for a good discussion post.  In that post, the people from The Contemps asked this:  
"If you are in high school, is the group you hang out with labelled?  Do you think this affects the way you’re treated by other students or teachers?  Can people cross from one group to the other?  Or do labels not really matter much?

Does what you see in books correspond with real life? For example, in my daughter's old school, the cheerleaders are not very popular, and she never felt books showing everyone sucking up to cheerleaders were accurate.  
If you are out of high school, was the group you hung out with then labeled? Did this affect the way you were treated by other students and teachers? Do you feel that your high school label affected your life once you graduated?"
Actually when I was in high school, I did not really belong in a particular group.  I was a nerd but in our school, that's a good thing because you get to enjoy better privileges like getting away with serious offenses (copying your parents' signature for every paper that needed to be signed because you're too busy watching TV when you get home; cutting classes - the reason?  I was working on other homework for other subjects) since the discipline committee's eyes are fixed on the usual suspects.  But in spite of that, I hung out with different groups - the rock band dudes, the athletes, the pretty girls, etc. and my own group of friends were not given any label because we have a wide range of personalities and roles.  And the teachers and other students did not judge me because of my friends - they treated me according to the way I treated them.  And yes, crossing over to different groups is not impossible but as I said, in the school where I came from, labels did not matter much.  You hung out with pretty much anyone you liked.

And yes, there are some books that seem to exaggerate the different cliques in school.  We did not really care too much about the cheerleaders, especially the bitchy ones because they don't really rule the school.  Actually there was not a particular person or group that ruled the school so we didn't really care one way or another about labels.  We all thought we were cool and I guess that's what matters.  In books, the protagonist especially, always feel that he/she is so far down the school food chain and had to suck up to the cool kids.  While that may be true in some cases, in our school, you just do your thing and if you're friendly enough, friends would come to you in no time.
So there.  I would like to know your answers to the questions posed above, and if you have/had the same situation in your high school and how did you feel about it? 


  1. When I was growing up I hated kids in general. I knew they were mean and vile so my mom home-schooled me up until my sophomore year of high school when I asked to return to public school life. My school had clicks, but I never really noticed. Everyone was really friendly over all. I live in a small town now and everybody who has grown up there was friends at one point or another with everyone else. It was a very social and likable place to go to school.

    When I got to high school, my immediate friends were band geeks, nerds, and R.O.T.C. kids (Band geeks and R.O.T.C. kids were a very tight nit group). I became an R.O.T.C kid and I was already a nerd, but I found I was quite sociable outside of my normal group of friends - but then again, my personality calls for it. I'm just weirdly friendly. LOL

    Even though I don't like people that much, cause they suck as a whole, individually at my school they were pretty awesome to talk to about religion and other taboo topics that would normally offend someone, just because they wanted to be offended.

    I was just like you Nina when it came to getting in trouble. I never did. :) I was always nice to my teachers and I much rather preferred talking to them one on one then some of my classmates about gossip. I did fall into line with the gossip on occasion, but unless that person had personally done me or my friends wrong, I didn't really care. I was still friendly with the "scandalous" people at my school. They usually were the most fun to hang out with anyways. LOL

    At my high school there wasn't anyone who "ruled" over everyone else like in books. We just had our insanely popular people who had 100 A's since they popped out the womb. I hated those girls. They didn't have to try to get good grades, they complained all the time about the work to get the grades, and they were some of the most shallow people I have met in my young life. Complete air heads, too. I could barely hold a conversation with them about anything serious, because the whole time I just wanted them to SHUT UP.

    I'm sure in a much larger school setting, around 4,000 students compared to my school's numbers of less than 1,000, there are some people who "rule," or try to rule, their schools, but I'd have to say that is mostly fictional based on my experience.


  2. Ok, I live in England so we didn't do 'High School' so I will change this to Upper School and mostly 'Sixth Form' - A Level years. Also we didn't have a cheer-leading squad so these don't come into the equation at all

    In the Sixth form we had a special common room just for those in sixth form (away from the rest of the school) but it was divided by cliques and groups like mad, and though some people hopped between the groups there did seem to be a certain sense of rules that although not written were definitely followed.

    We had the corner by the kitchen which was where the sporty boys sat, they were considered the 'cool' kids, the ones you were supposed to look up to (I just thought they were mostly prats!)

    Next to them was the Queen Bees, the girls who were more concerned about looks than their school work, and spent hours obsessing over the sporty boys and teasing anyone who didn't wear what they considered appropriate. They were popular, the girls we were all meant to want to be like (I just thought they were bitches!)

    Then next to them we had more popular girls, similar to the first, but only nicer, these girls still cared about looks, fashion, boys and being popular, but they were also decent human beings and cared about their future too and even other pupils. (I was friends with a few of these, talked to them in class etc, just didn't sit with them in the common room, but would say hi if I passed them! they were a sort of link between the divide.)

    Then there was a small group of scarily intelligent kids who sat alone and never talked to anyone else, they were superior in their intellect and so couldn't dumb themselves down by interacting with anyone else.

    The common room then branched into a little side room. In here you had the Asians, nearly every Asian or coloured student would be in the corner of this room talking in another language. However, they were friendly and I did have some conversations with them (in English of course) and they would always say hello when me and my friends walked in. I actually made some very good friends there)

    Then the last group was the one i belonged to, We were known as the 'Odd Balls' we were the students that didn't fit in any category and were so diverse that we came together in our differences. My group contained a Goth, a girl who hardly spoke, a couple of boys who were considered uncool, but we always had a laugh. some other students then me and my two best friends, we were always happy and more than slightly hyper, would sing along to our ipods, read books and were probably what would be referred to as Geeks/Freaks. It was great, we didn't fit in with anyone else and so created our own group, and it worked, our differences brought us together.
    We were always thought of as uncool, and the popular kids never wanted to know us and would sometimes make comments, but we loved who we were. It was great.

    The label from my group was great though, as by teachers we were the well behaved students, those who worked hard first then played later. Students from the Queen Bees or Sporty Boys for example never got away with anything, no homework meant straight into detention
    However the one time in my entire life that i forgot to do my homework, the teacher just smiled at me and said 'bring it in tomorrow' I showed the school and teachers respect and so I got a little slack and respect in return. They knew I was one of the outsiders, the ones that didn't follow the herd, and that I tried my best to follow the rules whilst having fun. In my eyes this was an advantage and I'm glad of where I was.

    It really is a divide, and I just think it's part of the natural order. It would be great if everyone could intermingle freely but just don't think it would work, too many opportunities for personality clashes.

    So although some books may go over the top with it, there is a foundation of truth behind it, or there certainly was in my school.

  3. It does seem that it depends upon the culture in a particular school whether labels would be given utmost importance or not. In Kelsa's and my own experiences, we did not have that much problems as Becky did - whose situation by the way, could be straight out of a high school-based novel. It's so difficult to believe that such a situation exists in a real high school, but very easy to understand at the same time.

  4. I was one of the music kids. I ate lunch in the choir room almost every day.

  5. I was kind of an exception because I did so many different activities. So I bounced around from group to group but was considered one of the most "popular" girls in my class. Which is why it's so hard for me to read YA Novels about the bitchy popular girl bc I'm wondering if people thought I was like that!!

    I was in the cool kids group but I was also in and out of the Musical people group, actors and Step Team group because we performed together so much!

    But the popular people in my school weren't as mean as the ones depicted in books or movies. Somehow someone just decided we were the popular ones but it didn't mean people couldn't hang around us or anything. We were all about inclusion in my HS!


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