By definition, a hermit is one who lives in solitude or one who is retired from society for a number or reasons. This word isn’t one that comes without connotations; I’ve never heard anybody talk about a hermit in a positive light. In fact, when I think of hermits, I think of the strange bearded men decked out in tie-dye and living in tents that my grandparents and I saw on our drive to Death Valley. Because that’s who hermits typically are. As you can guess, this was not a word that I expected to be called this past week in class.
We had been assigned to groups and told to think of three “stereotypical” DePauw students. First came the die-hard student athletes. That was a given. DePauw, as a smaller D3 school, is about 50 percent student athletes. Next came the kids who “work hard party hard.” The kids who maintain good GPAs, stay involved on campus, and manage to maintain a great social life. There are many kids like this on campus, but for many, this title is an excuse to party hard without the working hard. There’s a fine line between maintaining a great social life and only caring about your social life that many people seem to be confused with — not just here, but everywhere. Then came the last stereotypical student — the hermit. I knew what they were going for, but the word they chose surprised me. The word itself didn’t last long, though. I think they realized they should use another one by the look on my face; so they chose “introvert” instead.
Now, I know for a fact that most of the kids in this group didn’t mean for the word hermit to carry the negative connotation that it does. Heck, if I weren’t a hermit, I probably would have used that word too. But that’s like saying "no offense" before a joke… it’s still probably going to be pretty offensive, just like this still bothered me even after they had realized that that’s what I am and changed words. The so-called “hermits” who they had labeled as a group were classified as not having rushed into a sorority, not drinking, being “nerds” as you may. They would rather stay in on a Friday night and watch a movie or do homework instead of not being able to remember which frat house they were in over the weekend. Anyone who knows me on this campus would put me in that group, yet, that isn’t what upset me. What upset me is the negative connotation that came along with it. It’s hard to feel like you belong on a campus when doing homework on a Saturday night makes you weird but blacking out doesn’t.
So that’s that. I know for a fact that in my four years here it won’t ever be considered “normal” to be a hermit, and maybe that’s just because of the school I attend. I guess the point of this article is to say people like me are so much more than just hermits. Maybe try talking to one of us some time, I promise we don’t bite. Also, if you also like taking Buzzfeed quizzes and reading through your latest psych chapter on Saturday nights, you know where to find me. Always be proud of who you are, whether you "work hard party hard" or dedicate all of your time to a sport or choose to exist as a hermit – or something else, because I would never expect to put the population of DePauw in just three groups. Either way, be proud of who you are and do your best doing you. If you take anything from this article, take this: frat boys can have 4.0s and hermits, given the right environment, can be some of the most extroverted people you've ever met. Don't judge people based on the stereotype that is given for them. Let them speak for themselves.