Breaking Cliches and Creating Connections
If you have ever watched a cheesy high school movie, which almost everyone has, you probably know all about the cliches that take place within the school. I chose to focus on one particular aspect of it all, the cafeteria.
The most classic high school stress is where to eat lunch, which table will you associate yourself with? Is it the football players? The popular girls? or the band geeks? Now you may be thinking that this is just in the movies but you’re wrong. It may not be as dramatized or as strict of a social rule but it does in fact exist.
I will be focusing on breaking social cliques and other social boundaries. My school has a major issue with the ability to clean up after themselves in the cafeteria. This may seem off topic, but it’s very important. The school has threatened earlier in the school year to give us all assigned seating in the cafeteria in order to get a handle on the situation. Although they never went through with it, I think this would actually benefit the school. By sitting a few people from each grade at a table, you could break boundaries between grades and cliques and introduce people to new friends both outside their own grade and within it. It would creating a more welcoming environment overall and strengthen the community. Of course this wouldn’t be everyday, maybe once a month or every two weeks.
There are obviously some issues with this. Would people even participate? Would they skip school? How do you even mandate this?
A major problem this late in the year would be seniors. No offense to any of the seniors taking abnormal psychology, but the Senior class would be less willing to participate than the rest of the school. My solution to this is take them out of this, and sit them with all other seniors. Of course, not with their friends. It would give people the chance to meet or befriend peers that they never got the chance to before they graduate. Although I have talked to a few Seniors who think the idea would be spectacular. So I decided to talk to some students myself about what they think about having assigned seating, here’s what a few said:
“It would definitely break tension and lessen competition between grads that kis created through things like spirit week.” -Junior
“I don’t know everyone so it would be kind of terrifying to be forced to spend an entire lunch with new people from different grades.” -Freshman
“I think it would be great and promote inclusiveness especially considering how cliquey our school is.” -Senior
I hope that after this project people become less cliquey and choose to step outside their friend group and reach out to new people. The environment of the school would change from social pressures and boundaries to a more open one where people feel free and welcomed to making new friends. I sent an email to the Dean of Students explaining this conference and the whole idea of assigned seating, I hope that he’ll agree in hosting this day at least once to see how it goes!
Update: I have talked to the Dean of Students who is in full support of the idea, all that is left is to plan and execute!!