Students view stereotypes, popularity as harmless

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By Karlie Hansen
<khansen@hilite.org>

Junior Jessica Novitski appears to be an average young teenager here. She enjoys rock music, she wears clothes that are not uncommonly found in the halls , and she has many friends. When asked to stereotype herself and the people she hangs out with, she said, “nerds” and “artists.” Junior Aneesha Kamath, a good friend of Novitski’s, says she does not like to stereotype people, including herself, but if she had to stereotype her group it would be “nerds.” According to The Free Dictionary, a nerd is defined as “an uninteresting person, a dud.”

chit chat: Junior Aneesha Kamath (left) shares food and chats with her friends, juniors Saumya Saukhararam and Eve Eggleston. Kamath said that she doesn’t like to stereotype against people. JINNY ZHANG / PHOTO

CHIT CHAT: Junior Aneesha Kamath (left) shares food and chats with her friends, juniors Saumya Saukhararam and Eve Eggleston. Kamath said that she doesn’t like to stereotype against people. JINNY ZHANG / PHOTO

But this does not seem to be the case with Novitski’s and Kamath’s group. “I wouldn’t say being a nerd is a bad thing. It’s just another word (we use) for smart,” Kamath said. “We all have our special talents—some of us play sports, participate in drama or create art. That’s what makes us special.” Both girls agree the people who stand out most to them at CHS are “rich, bratty kids.”

Junior Corey Smith said he doesn’t have one exclusive group he hangs out with. “I jump around four or five groups, and I’m not picky. If I get along with someone, we’ll probably end up friends,” he said. When Smith is hanging out with friends, he said he is most likely driving around Carmel, playing video games or hanging out with people.

Interpersonal Relations teacher DeAnn Shrewsbury said she doesn’t believe popularity is much of an issue here. “If I had to define popularity at (CHS), I would say students who really make a name for themselves would be considered popular,” she said. “Whether that’s by playing on the football team, swim team or being involved in lots of activities, etc.” Shrewsbury said she has also observed students becoming friends with one another based on similar likes and dislikes. In a school with over 4,000 students and countless clubs offered, there are plenty of opportunities to find other students with similar interests. Shrewsbury also said dating doesn’t seem to be a big issue here. webdefined

“At other schools, (one) might see couples being exclusive together; at Carmel I tend to notice more of the ‘group dating’ going on,” she said. Since there are more students, Smith said it’s easier to meet people that way. Smith said he enjoys group dates, but also believes one-on-one dates are important too. He also says he would, in theory, date outside his groups. “It would be nice to have my friends’ approval, but in the end I don’t care what they think. There are just too many,” he said.

Novitski also said she would date outside her group. “(Since I would date outside my group,) it’s important for my friends to approve (of the guy) because it would be difficult and annoying if they didn’t accept him,” Novitski said. “There are always exceptions, but overall I would prefer their approval.”

When hanging out, Novitski said her group tends to be random. There is not a certain activity they do routinely. “We’ll hang out at someone’s house, go to school games. Last time we had a girl’s night, party, (etc.).” Novitski said.

“Yes, there are definitely stereotypes at Carmel,” Kamath said. “We can’t help it, it’s just natural. Popularity may seem to be a problem in some groups, and less so in others.”

Smith said that “popular” is a misused word and often is misinterpreted. “Even though ‘popular’ is a word with a bad reputation,” Smith said, “all it really means is that you have a lot of friends. It’s a good thing, really.”

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