The Real Problem With Cliques

The Real Problem With Cliques

Cliques themselves aren't necessarily bad.
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It's no question that over the past several decades, schools ranging from middle school to even collegiate universities are dominated by dynasties of cliques. These cliques range from the theater kids, to band geeks, to computer nerds, to athletes (or jocks), to the “popular girls," and so on. Thanks to movies like Mean Girls and countless published personal stories regarding bullying, certain cliques are known to socially and emotionally destruct others. After reading several publicized stories and analyses of these cliques and the problems they have posed to teenagers, it seems that the most common solution is to eliminate cliques completely. Although this solution may stop the tears from streaming down high-schoolers faces as they eat their lunches in the bathroom stalls, or diminish several cases of depression and anxiety amongst young adults, this solution is very unrealistic. Therefore, it isn't a solution worth discussing or seeking out.

Cliques are inevitable. It is simply our human nature to form special bonds with a close-knit group of friends, whether that group consists of one or 12 people. We are all wired individually; we all have our own senses of humor, ways of thinking, ideas of friendship, etc. There is no way that we are able to form the same intimate friendships with every single person we meet as we do with our best friends, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Take, for example, the football team. They don't form their “clique" to intentionally hurt others or exclude; rather, the clique forms naturally due to every member's common passion for the sport of football, and not to mention the fact that they spend just about every single day together for practice and games anyways.

My sorority has over 140 girls, meaning that a very long spectrum of personalities exists amongst the chapter. And I'm going to be honest: I do not connect with all of them on the same level. I just don't form the same emotional, intimate bond of friendship with every single one of them as I do with my few closest friends in my sorority. However, I do have the same level of respect for every single member, and that is what is most important. If every single member of every single clique had an equal amount of respect for everyone in their clique as well as everyone else outside of their clique, then I believe that nearly all of the problems associated with cliques would surely drain from our society.

Bullying and social harassment don't stem from cliques themselves; instead, they rise from the actions associated with certain cliques, such as exclusion, hazing, stalking, bullying, etc. Most victims of bullying don't even desire to be part of the clique; they just want to be left alone and/or receive the respect they deserve. So, instead of fostering or generation to remove cliques from our society, it might be more effective and realistic to foster the importance of the distribution of equal respect amongst young adults. Everyone, no matter what their interests or reputations are, deserves the same amount of respect that you give your closest friend. And that equal level of respect is what will evaporate the tension, competition and hate that exists amongst our generation's teens.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Using 'Tradition' As An Excuse For Blood Feuds Is Not Okay

Respecting culture should not include the allowance of massacre.

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Bloods feuds are different from your typical family argument. They generally occur in the Northeast or Central region of Albania and can take many people's lives.

A blood feud begins when a person takes another one's life in the midst of an argument or disagreement. When this happens they are not settled by a civil court or lifetime in prison; they are settled by using murder as revenge over an over again.

If not prevented, the two families in conflict will go back in forth taking someone's life from the family that wished to spite them, just to even the score.

Eventually, families run out of men to use in these blood feuds, and to make sure that the conflict is resolved, the women begin to dress up and act as males so they too can go out and kill each other. This practice has historical significance in their culture and should always be taught and remembered, but that does not justify allowing the practice to continue.

Sure it's insignificant, that I, as a female living in a developed country, would find this practice barbaric and want to stop it. But it's important to take a closer look at the families and realize how much they struggle and desperately need this to end to allow them to live.

Just in Albania's Shkodra region alone, there are estimated to be 68 families unable to leave their house in fear of what awaits them. People are unable to continue what would normally be a successful life if they are dragged into a fight that's not their own, by tradition alone.

In class today, my professor discussed his high school years, most of which were spent in Albania. He was exposed to, and friends, with many of the people trapped in this nightmare.

One in particular, he told us, would drive down in a van with tinted windows to a different city every day to carry out his life where no one knew him. He would work with them, hang out and play soccer, and drive home every day. This continued for months, until one day he stopped showing up, and eventually, my professor discovered he had been killed by the family that his family was in combat with.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated event, and it is still happening while the rest of Albania develops around it. People want help to solve this issue and truly need it...

In this issue, awareness is key and can allow humanity around the world to step in an attempt to prevent this from continuing. If this goal is achieved, imagine the renewed life that the people trapped in this tradition would be able to discover.

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