Column: Placing stereotypes should be a high school thing

Judging people for their passion is for high school, not college

Rachel Schnelle is freshman journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about campus-wide problems for The Maneater.

MU has a wide variety of 600 recognized organizations for students to choose from. Whether it’s specific to one’s major or hobby major, any student is bound to find something they’re interested in–and they should never be judged for their involvement in that organization.

As someone who was active in just about everything in high school, I was quickly introduced to stereotypes that were associated with every club. If you’re in band or choir, you’re a nerd. If you’re interested in anything agriculture-related you’re an uneducated hick, or even if you are a well-rounded student you’re a stick in the mud.

Knowing how much I loved all of these organizations, I learned to look past these stereotypes. Judgemental remarks were just something that came with high school, and I realized that those people were missing out on amazing opportunities that those clubs granted me.

When I moved to MU and classes started, I figured that placing stereotypes were just a high school thing; unfortunately, I was wrong.

During the first week of classes, I was blown away as to how truly diverse MU is. With its incredible engineering and journalism school, people come from around the world to pursue their education. I was shocked at how many different languages I heard around campus. I realized that I was in the right place because everybody had a reason as to how they chose to go here.

For me, a journalism major, this university seemed like an immediate first choice. For others, it could be because of engineering, nursing, agriculture or even just because of the beautiful campus.

Just walking around, I’ve heard some harsh remarks towards certain majors and organizations.

For agriculture majors, they’re easy to point out and make fun of just by what they’re wearing. People say their boots and boot-cut jeans make them look like they’re uneducated and shouldn’t belong on a college campus. When really, some of the smartest people I have ever met are in that career field.

The same is true for journalism majors. Everybody in that career field is equally driven and inspired to be exceptional journalists.

People outside of this major may think that journalism students want everybody to know that they’re a journalism major. As someone who in this major, it's pretty cool that I go to one of the best journalism schools in the nation; it’s hard not to brag about something like that.

When it comes to stereotypes about organizations, perhaps the biggest and most well-known are those surrounding sorority and fraternity life. As someone who is involved in Greek life, I can sometimes feel people rolling their eyes when I start talking about my sorority.

Movies and TV shows have portrayed sorority girls as privileged and unintelligent people who are just in a chapter to party. These stereotypes are completely false, as Panhellenic Association at Mizzou is inclusive. Of course it depends on the chapter but from my personal experience during recruitment, I realized that there is a wide variety class and race at the houses at Mizzou.

Some of the most academically driven and inspiring women I’ve met were and are involved in Greek life at MU. In fact, seeing and meeting these women is what convinced me to go Greek in the first place.

Another stereotype that I've heard is that some organizations resemble a cult. Groups such as Summer Welcome, Alumni Association Student Board and Tour Team are so close-knit that to the outside world they may seem that way.

As someone who knows members of those organizations, I can say that I am inspired by them. The members of these organizations are not only competitive, but they have such a deep pride for Mizzou that they want to carry the tradition on.

All of the people that were chosen for those organizations are overqualified and the best people I’ve ever met.

From my experience in high school, it's incredibly disheartening and frustrating when someone bashes what someone else is passionate about. People in my hometown would give me looks of judgment when I told them that I was going to MU to pursue journalism.

Ever since MU’s protests in 2015, people in my hometown assume that MU’s enrollment is down, and that should be a reason why I shouldn’t attend there. When actually, it’s reached a record high this year.

It's easy to judge someone’s college when they’ve never stepped foot on the campus. I have had to bite my tongue many times and realize that some people will alway judge.

The same is true with all of the stereotypes surrounding well-known organizations.

The wonderful thing about college is that it's nothing like high school. Students can find their own purpose and friend group. In the grand scheme of things, we are all here for one reason; to pursue higher education. Let us not place stereotypes and judgements on people who want to do more than that.

As childish as this sounds, sometimes I forget that I’m going to MU. It isn’t until I walk through Francis Quadrangle and see the Columns that I snap back to reality.

It's a dream and a privilege to go to this university. The pride that surrounds this university is enough to love and accept everyone no matter their path.

This is why it is so disheartening to hear that people who are attending MU are judging others for having different lifestyles than themselves. If we are all individually passionate about this university, we should mirror this enthusiasm toward our peers.

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