Social hierarchies have rule our lives from the time of the feudal system till today, whether we realize it or not. In elementary school, girls had cooties and we all remember that rhyme, "boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider, girls go to college to get more knowledge..." right? So forget a girl interacting with the opposite sex, and vice versa. This is where it all begins.
Flash forward to middle school. You have the fifth graders, sixth graders, the seventh and eighth graders. It was the common protocol that the fifth graders do not sit near the eighth graders. Why? I have no idea. Eighth graders are higher in the social class than the pre-pubescent fifth grader. So it all makes sense...or does it?
Now we're in high school. One word: cliques. Ugh, I can hear Janis telling Cady about it in the lunch room (Mean Girls reference). More relevant in my time, I am listening to "stick to the status quo" in my head. There's the basketball players, the theatre pros, the bakers, those who pop and lock and jam and break (still deciding if it's legal), and of course, the cello player.
Flash forward the "best four years of your life" (I'm totally kidding) and step into college. A time of independence and growth. Something I noticed her is that (for the most part, cause some people never grow up), that imaginary line of not being able to talk to someone because they are not in the same grade as you went away. Even the word "grade" went away. It's not 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th grade anymore. That just sounds weird.
I look forward to my every other day chats with my friend who's a sophomore in my math class. I enjoy talking to the other freshman my age as well. I've made a few friends who are currently juniors, either boys or girls. I've become friendly with faculty even though I have only been at this school a couple of months, and I have a few friends who are currently seniors. I see them literally every day. They are not disgusted by the fact that I am a freshman. Because we all are in college for a common goal, and we all have paid our tuition to walk these paths and take these classes and join these clubs.
At one point, one of them took me "under their wing" and helped me when I needed it the most. Furthermore, I call one of them my "college big sister," because we see each other all the time because we share so many of the same interests. (You know who you are), and I look forward to our chats and love running into her. I'm going to miss the graduating seniors, but they are all on their ways to amazing careers and I'm more proud of them then upset, and I can only hope I keep in touch with them as we all move on with our lives.
Social classes were a thing of the past. We have to teach children that it doesn't matter who you hang out with. As long as it's the right crowd and everyone is comfortable, age or grade status should not have to play a role.