The Danger of Stereotypes

How stereotypes shape our views and perspectives.

The College Student

Throughout recent history college students have been categorized as full time partiers (Curry, Colleen).These young adults are driven by ulterior motives than graduating with decent standings. Instead, these students seek to fulfill the college life and are motivated purely by the next chance to become obliterated and score more than just hard liquor. A common misjudgment about these undergraduate students is that along with being drunk, they are also sexually active. These common stereotypes suggest that while prioritizing, students rate social life higher than education. In this case, it seems that students are attending college simply to live in a community where it is socially acceptable to live a shameless lifestyle.  Society implies that sleeping all day, drinking lethal amounts, hangovers and one-night stands are all regular occurrences within this carefree setting. However, if these accusations are true, this wild social life is costing the average student sometimes more than forty thousand dollars a year. These common stereotypes pose the question: is a college education worth the tuition or is this money wasted on uncontrolled partying?

Another common stereotype suggests that throughout college one encounters hundreds of diverse people. Therefore at any college there is an outstanding assortment of races, ethnic backgrounds, political and religious views, as well as moral obligations driving students to act certain ways. Because this description proposes all types of people are represented in every undergraduate student body, another assumption becomes evident. There are five distinctive personality types that every college student will encounter: the amicable athlete, the frat boy, the high hippie, the activist, and the virgin (“Summary of 99% of the People You Will Meet in College”).

The amicable athlete is typically attending college full ride on a sports scholarship. This six-foot male often sports his team apparel provided by the school. His social group consists of many other athletes, although due to his cordial personality, students around campus all claim to be acquaintances. Acknowledging the fact that he is in for an easy ride, this athlete is all about enjoying himself. Due to his high athletic standing he is extremely sexually active.

Similar to the amicable athlete, accept without a sports scholarship, the frat boy is left to captain a club team. Most commonly on the weightlifting team, this male hits the gym at least twice a day. His two outfit choices are a sleeveless tank revealing as much muscle as possible or a collared polo for his frattier side. This student typically day drinks at least five times a week and has mastered beer pong. His well-toned body and overly confident personality often land him a one-night stand. When he cannot convince a girl to spend the night he is often surprised and angered. This frat brother is high tempered and aggressive.

The high hippie favors Birkenstocks sandals, tie-dyed t-shirts, and anything made from pure natural hemp. He or she often has dreadlocks and can often be spotted skateboarding to class or pondering alone beneath a tree. This student favors hookah bars and marijuana. Smoking from a young age, the high hippie can easily identify which household objects are most resourceful while making a bong. Often times this student can be seen playing hacky sack with other hippies.

In complete contrast to the high hippie, there is the activist. The activist can be male or female and desires to be part of every campus organization. He or she holds a board position in many of these groups. Although very active on campus, this student does not typically interact with others unless for something that can be printed on his or her resume. This student typically achieves high standings with the school and gains acceptance to anything requiring an application. Trying to prove worthiness, this student also tries to make a cause or club for any problem that arises.

Now that he is at college this student assumes he will be more sexually active

Lastly there is the virgin. The virgin typically comes from a small, religious town. Sheltered by their upbringing, this student has never encountered sexual activity, alcohol, or any other drugs. This student typically spends much time worshiping their religion and focusing primarily on schoolwork. Eventually dorm life will change this naïve teen, and he or she will agree to try a typical college experience. The first time out this student will blackout and become sexually active. After going out once this student will typically become a crazed partier.

Another misjudgment about college students is that males attend college for a degree in a future profession while females focus on marriage. This common stereotype is often referred to as a Mrs. Degree (urban dictionary). As a result females are typically underrated for their skills and knowledge and categorized with the inability to be independent. Many view women as avoiding any real responsibility. The Mrs. Degree insinuates that upon marriage females take full responsibility for children, ultimately becoming a stay at home mother. Attending college to find a husband assumes that any knowledge gained while attending a four-year college will be worthless upon graduating.

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