Written by: Taylor Stone
What comes to mind when you think of a college student? Your immediate thought is most likely one recalled from personal experience; we think of staying up all night studying for finals, full class loads every semester, and, most likely, a full-time job.
See what I did there? I just labeled you as a hard-working student, taking at least 12 hours a semester with a full-time job. While this is probably the case for many college students, it is far from being a universal depiction of a “college student.”
When someone “labels” you, what does that really mean? Well, a label is essentially a category of behavior–real or imagined–that we use to organize the world. Attempting to universally assign labels is just about as effective as trying to breathe underwater. It may seem harmless at first, but eventually, time will pass, people will change, and you will run out of oxygen.
We lack the amount of information needed to classify individuals and groups of people under the community umbrella of a single word or phrase. Our culture continuously–and haphazardly− invents stereotypes with such frequency that we begin to lose our grasp on their meaning.
Whether we like it or not, labels are everywhere, and they come from everyone. In fact, we will often unknowingly give ourselves labels when we speak about our religious and political beliefs.
Even some of our favorite hobbies may tell others things about us that simply aren’t true.
Both positive and negative connotations exist when we talk about our interests or the interests of others.
While it’s important to use our intuition in life to make decisions, it’s also a good idea to take a moment to get to know the individual. People are much more than their extra-curricular activities or their career path.