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Paw Prints Past Issues (2017-2018)

Conformity in our Community
Cate Connolly & Marlayna Russo

By: Cate Connolly and Marlayna Russo

Conformity is a topic that has bled into our society and community.Teens are known to suffer the most from the effects of conformity and many join cliques, gangs, and select friends based on the feeling of belonging. There's a bigger pressure to belong than there was many years ago. states, "Noted psychologist Abraham Maslow suggests a hierarchy of human needs, and one of the needs of the hierarchy is the urge to belong and be accepted by friends, family and peers." More attention is focused on physical aspects, and what interests you. This can affect how much you "fit in" and high schoolers tend to worry more what others believe is right, than what's right for them.

PawPrints asked Clarkston High School students what they think about the topic of conformity. We were interested in knowing more about the subject because it seems as though everyone believes they conform to many different things. Sometimes without even knowing it, you have been impacted by others for majority of your life.

Senior, Nolan Cook, was interviewed on his thoughts about conforming. He believed there's a pressure to conform because, "The people that have already chosen to conform around you, make you feel the need to join in on what they are doing." The influence of others has a major impact of teenagers today, including the way you dress, speak, beliefs etc.

Nolan also brought attention to how you mentally conform to society positively and negatively. "I believe your parents can have influences on how much you conform, without realizing it. They have influenced what's right and wrong, even if you choose to think differently. On a more mental aspect, believing you have to be a certain person in society can negatively affect you in many ways including health reasons. Having the perfect clothes everyday at school isn't gonna make you a better person, but the world we live in now seems to believe so." The idea of conforming is present in high school and students are admitting they even conform.

Jacob Bore, a senior here at Clarkston High School, had some interesting approaches to idea of conformity as well. He has seen conformity a lot throughout the school and commented, " Kids tend to do that a lot when questions are directed towards the class. A kid could see majority of the class say one answer, but he would change his mind to the more popular one due to doubting himself." Many people believe that school is a major place where people conform. Jake also had a thought- provoking view on accepting the diversity of him and other students. He said, "I don't really care what people think. I don't really conform to one popular idea and I think that many people do on a regular basis." Discussing peer pressure and human differences allows teens to explore the variety of diversity in life.

Mrs. Bridgman, a teacher at Clarkston High School, has taken time to express her thoughts on this topic. Being able to hear teenagers opinions is just as important as adults. A teacher is able to notice when kids in school conform to society. This is because they have once been in our shoes. Bridgman states, "I see people who basically have a fear of standing out and they oftentimes dress the same, or act the same, or don't want to express their unique perspective. People leave their thoughts unexpressed and they really have a lot to offer if they just expressed them. What pressures kids to conform is a fear of judgment or an insecurity of being unique." Reflecting back to all of the interviews, everyone brings up the same ideas and conclusions to why people conform. We should question why the idea of conforming and changing who you are without realizing is taking over who you are more than we all think.

Conformity is a touchy subject that will always be talked about in society. It is balance that exists in every imaginable part of the world. From government, to school, to work, to home, and community, the idea will be with us forever. There is an evenness that exists in this delicate medium of complete individuality and complete uniformity. We are all human and strive for similar things in life, but what makes us different are the goals we want in the end. What we soon realize out of highschool is that the clothes on our backs and the shoes on our feet won't matter. In the end, each person will act different than the next and we will all end up in a different place than planned.