school seniors chime in on clique culture
jocks. The cheerleaders. The nerds. The rebels. Most people will
recall being affiliated with some type of group or crowd when they
were young. And these types of "cliques" are often the basis of
movies about adolescence: The varsity basketball team captain dates
the mean girl who rules the school. But how close do these
dramatizations connect to the reality of growing up in Beijing? We
sat down with four students from the Western Academy of Beijing to
find out. Lisa Liang
is the clique situation like at your school?
don’t think there are cliques so much as there are different groups
of friends. Most people have different groups of friends but it’s
not really "cliques" as you would see them in American movies.
Everyone likes each other and gets along.
in Grade 12, because we don’t have that many people. Relatively,
it’s quite a small grade. I think if there would be a problem with
cliques, it would be people in middle school, maybe the younger
grades, but not really by year 12. Hopefully, everyone’s mature
enough to be over the whole excluding thing.
don’t see any problems, at least not here. At my last school, we
had little groups and that was a problem, but when I got here in
tenth grade, there were a couple of groups but not a big barrier
between people. I feel free to talk with anyone at this school, and I
think almost everyone feels the same way.
guess cliques form just because the grade can’t be just one. There
has to be some separation because we can’t all talk to each other
at the same time. So I guess a common interest forms, but it isn’t
exactly like one type of people stay here, one type of people go
there. It’s just same interests, same likings, stuff like that.
there distinctive groups, like jocks or computer nerds?
what makes WAB different from everywhere else. There is no line.
lot of people play sports, a lot of people are on sports teams, and
you’re friends with the people on your teams or your band or
whatever, but its not like those people play sports, or those people
like computers. Everyone has a variety of different interests, and no
one is ostracized by anyone else.
having cliques or a group of friends is not necessarily a bad thing?
are usually defined as not encouraging other people to join you, but
that’s about it. They’re not always a bad thing.
to an international school, people often leave at the end of the
year, so you might have ten best friends and they might all leave.
You just have to get used to being friends with a lot of people.
she said was very important. People tend to leave more often, at
least compared to other schools, so I think that’s why the groups
aren’t so closed.
do you handle having your friends leave?
it happens, and we’re all graduating in a year so we’re all going
to leave. I never had problems with people leaving. I would hope that
they stay, but it happens and you have to deal with it.
people grow up in communities where you’re at school with the same
people from kindergarten until you graduate, but I think it could be
a benefit going to an international school because we grow up moving
around and we get used to having to make new friends. So when we go
to university, it’s going to be easy for us to make friends because
we’re used to adapting to different environments and being able to
find common interests with a variety of different people.