By Staff Writer Ethan Barber
Graphics by Max Campbell
School brings a whole plethora of troubles. In addition to the tremendous workload, students are expected to wake up at the crack of dawn to leave home for hours on end, and often have to find a balance between school and extracurricular activities. There’s something else, though, that can be seen as the very basis of how the student body works, and is as prevalent as work in schools: socialization.
In a place as social as Timberline, many students can feel pressure to fit in. Sometimes, they might feel that just acting ‘themselves’ might not be enough, and therefore think they need to change the way they act or behave to make friends, or just to fit into one of the many social bubbles that make up Timberline.
“There’s a lot of cliques at our school,” said Senior Quang Bui. “If you don’t have a group to hang out with, you can feel like an outcast.” He described his own experiences of trying to ‘fit in’ at school, saying he tries to step out of his shell when it comes to school and other students. “I’m normally very quiet and reserved, so I have to force myself at school to be more outgoing and talk more,” he said.
Senior Anisha Torres, when recounting her own experiences, contrasted it to when she’s at home. “I feel more outgoing at home because I’m more comfortable with my siblings. They’re my family. [At Timberline,] I’m very shy. If I don’t know you, I’m probably not going to talk to you.”
Bui mentioned that one of the struggles that many students face at school is the conundrum of popularity. “Kids who are known as popular, like those who run for class office, are very connected. They have a really big following, so it’s really hard for quiet kids to talk to them. [Popular kids] say, ‘oh, you can talk to me any time,’ but it can be really intimidating. [Quiet kids] think: ‘This person has a lot of friends, and I’m just a nobody in their eyes,’” Bui said. Torres also touched on the subject. “That stereotype of being cool fits into [the way students act],” she said. “I know that there’s a lot of underclassmen who try to be cool to fit in with the upperclassmen.”
“It’s hard to talk to people at this school because we all don’t know each other, so we have to put up these facades,” Bui added. “If you can put up a persona of someone likable, it’s easier for you to make friends. It eventually becomes a part of you,” said Bui. “You become what you’re trying to put up, and it slowly builds up your character.”