Remember when you were in high school walking down the hall and everybody knew your name, everyone signed your yearbook and you always hosted the wildest parties? You probably thought you were too big for your high school.
But when you get to college, the world seems to swallow you whole and you become invisible along with your popularity.
For some, leaving high school and starting college can be an overwhelming experience. Some students prefer to seek the spotlight, while others take a backseat to popularity and concentrate on their studies.
Although popularity can be an issue in high school, most people find that the struggle to be popular in college minimal.
Jahn Culturie, a senior African American studies student from Tallahassee, said he could tell by the way students dressed they were trying to fit in.
Even though some students are not concerned with being popular, others notice the few who are.
Anita Abad, a freshman business student from Santiago, Chile said trying to fit in does not concern her.
However, she does observe that a lot of the time men on campus blast the music from their cars because “they think everyone is looking at them.”
Dominique Brundidge, an environmental science student from Fairfield, Calif. does not think popularity is an issue in college because students are “paying for an education” and attend school because they want to, not because they are forced.
However, some say it is all a part of the black experience, and attending a predominantly black school is not about fitting in, but about a way of life.
“This is an all black school; its black culture,” said Kenya Thames, a freshman social work student from Miami.
Charlita Crittenton, a sophomore criminal justice student from Atlanta said that while attending a predominantly black school, a student does not feel pressured to fit in.
“It’s not like high school,” said Crittenton.
“With all the activities to occupy a student’s time, popularity is not a concern.”
Most students agreed that they felt no pressure to be popular or to fit in, although their reasons varied.
“There’s too many people to be popular; everyone’s different,” Peter Medrano said.
Medrano, a freshman engineering student from Miami, added that he hopes students are mature enough to understand that popularity issues should be left in high school and not brought in to college.
Zama Mkhize, a sophomore criminal justice student from Burabau, South Africa, said when she was a freshman, she did not want to fit in and knew she would not fit in.
She said she notices freshmen trying to fit in because “it is hard for them to leave home and come to a university.”
Culturie advises students: “Be comfortable with yourself, and don’t let what others do dictate who you are.”
Counselor and associate professor James L. Simmons said although he notices students trying to be popular, it does not appear to be a significant issue.
In addressing students who feel they need to fit in or be popular on campus, Simmons said to be the “best possible you.”
He also emphasized that if students feel good about themselves, they shouldn’t feel like they need to fit in.
Simmons, however, did express that students should be “balanced socially and academically.”
contact Samaria Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.