5 Things I Learned from The Breakfast Club about College Stereotypes

The Breakfast Club is about a group of high school students who share an eye opening 8-hour Saturday detention. Each of them has been isolated by their peers within a particular stereotype: the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess and the criminal. Being confined within detention allows them to empty their bags, open up and expose who they truly are on the inside away from their respective stereotypes.

In case anyone who is about to embark on their college adventure is worried about stereotypes, I will tell you right now, don’t be. Stereotypes will vanish when you go to college. Let’s face it, everyone is different. Everyone comes from different backgrounds, everyone has different interests and everyone has a different view on the world. Shedding unwanted stereotyping is just one of the empowering aspects of going to college.

The Breakfast Club taught me a valuable lesson: Stereotypes are merely shells that cover a persons’ true capacity.

Meeting people in college is not about being pigeonholed; rather it is about finding common ground with those around you. Going to college allows you to break out of your shell, highlight those attributes that may have type casted you in the past and pursue goals and new interests.

If for some reason you found yourself stereotyped as one of the following in high school, don’t fret about it. Although these words may have defined who you were to your classmates in the past, they ultimately become just another piece of your personality puzzle when you venture off into college.

The Brain

There is a chance that being the brainy kid in high school was not so appealing for your teenage social life and maybe being called a nerd dampened your self worth. Well, guess what? That is all over because being smart in college is crucial to your sucess and actually cool!  Taking the time and effort to study, do the homework and take part in classes throughout your college career is about setting your priorities straight, not about being a nerd or a geek. College is a time to learn and gain knowledge in academics and in life. For Brian in the Breakfast Club, maybe being in the Physics Club was considered “sad and demented” by people in high school, but his interests could ultimately lead him into a career as a renowned scientist…perhaps the next Albert Einstein. Think about it.

The Athlete

Were you considered the jock in high school? Did you spend a great deal of time playing a particular sport? Was there pressure from teammates, parents and coaches to be the absolute best? These are all very common possibilities, and many kids in high school end up being looked upon as just “a football player” or just “a wrestler.” Pursuing sports in college is a great idea because it allows you to stay active, build a community, and challenge yourself. Although you may have been looked at as simply “the jock” in high school, that’s all over in college. Being an athlete becomes just one part of you. With hard work and dedication, you could even be an athlete and a scientist.

The Basket Case

You may have been looked at as weird in high school. Maybe people thought you were odd because you liked to eat sugar and Captain Crunch in your sandwich like Allison. Or perhaps you enjoyed drawing landscapes and using your dandruff as makeshift snow, causing people to fear your eccentricities. Luckily, being creative and different in college is a quality, and oftentimes a necessity depending on your major. Liking odd things or being considered srange to others does not make you a basket case. Be proud of your ability to create art or stand out from others. When in high school you may have been tied down as the weird kid, in college you can take a figure drawing class, join the physics club and be on the soccer team. You won’t be looked at as one or the other.

The Princess

So, maybe shopping is something you enjoy doing. The thrill of finding pieces you love, bargain deals or that perfect sweater for the winter. In high school, kids may have considered you a princess. The girl who gets everything she wants. The popular one who is expected to always be perfect. In college, you don’t have to be that person. This is your chance to shed those ridiculous expectations. Everyone is entitled to their interests. There is no reason somone who enjoys shopping can’t play a sport or someone who gets good grades can’t be an artist. You are your own person, don’t let others expectations hold you down or make you feel like you have to be a certain way.

The Criminal

If for some reason you found yourself caught under the criminal stereotype in high school, chances are college may be a huge stepping stone for you. Going to college is your chance to shed the negativity and be the person you want to be. Being seen in a bad light in high school can be quite detrimental to the way people see you. College is a new chance and a new opportunity. No one knows you, and people have a chance to see you as you want them to. Don’t sell yourself short.

The bottom line is that you can truly be whoever you want to be. No one should confined to some made up label. It may sound corny, but it’s true. College is a time to rejuvinate, explore your interests, meet new people and make connections. Everyone is on the path to finding themselves. People are not concerned with popularity or looking down on others people for being different.
Be who you are, and say goodbye to those pesky stereotypes!
“We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.”
Andrew in The Breakfast Club

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Molly Stallman

Molly Stallman

Molly Stallman is a senior at DePaul University working toward an English degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing. She also has a minor in Digital Cinema. Molly especially enjoys spending time with loved ones, listening to music, watching movies/television and playing with her dogs. She also has a passion for antiques, crafts, animals, photography and the great outdoors.