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TEENS: 'The Breakfast Club' and its label-making debacle

Sarah Camp
Sarah Camp

School is here again, and with it comes the dreaded question: Where do I fit in? With all the cliques, sports, activities and academic goals, how can any teenager truly find a place they belong?

I have been faced with this seemingly impossible question for almost four years now and know that it is not an easy one to answer. If there were a contest for person with “too many fingers in too many pies,” I would win in a landslide.

I’m a geek who takes marching band and "Star Wars" way too seriously, but am also a musical theater buff who loves singing, dancing and performing. I’m a massive nerd who exceeds in class and always gets exceptional grades even though I hate doing homework, am an avid procrastinator and would rather curl up with a good video game or book than look at another algebra problem. I love reading and writing and consider English my favorite subject, but I also view science, physics and the words of Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein in the same regard as many individuals view their religious texts.

I’m also in a relationship with a girl but have no idea what my sexual label truly is. But that’s the problem, isn’t it? Labels. Figuring out whether you’re a princess, athlete, criminal, brain or basket case.

Despite how great "The Breakfast Club" and most other high school movies are, they have it all wrong. No one is ever just one thing, and the fact that so much time is spent worrying about what category we all fall into is one of the reasons high school falls so short of the path to self-discovery it promises.

I’m almost at the end of my high school career and I still have no idea who I am or where I belong. I consider the marching band my family, but also get along really well with jocks and cheerleaders. I’m an introvert who loves anime and video games, but still enjoys going and doing exciting and adventurous things with my friends.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve never fit into one group, and I never will. These labels and stereotypes we impart upon ourselves have always been and probably always will be a part of growing up, no matter how unfortunate that thought is. It is unlikely that any amount of introspection or articles can change the segmented society of high school. The only change anyone currently going through this period of life can make is within themselves.

No single word or stereotype can define a person, and I am optimistic in my belief that my diverse personality and range of interests is a commonality amongst most teenagers. As we develop in high school surrounded by countless individuals going through the same growing pains as us, giving everyone an easy-to-define title can help make sense of the chaos, but is ultimately damaging.

If we can shed the labels we have been given and have given ourselves — band geek, nerd, cheerleader, jock, burnout and the like — we might find that we all have a lot more in common than just the societal walls that divide us.

And that’s a high school movie I would love to see.

SARAH CAMP is a senior at La Salle-Peru High School. To contact her, email Assistant Editor Julie Barichello at jbarichello@shawmedia.com.

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