We all do it. That girl walking down the street in a too-tight miniskirt? Chances are she’s headed to a party. The guy who actually uses the word “bro” more in one day than some of us have in our lives? It’s doubtful that he’s going to ace the test he’s talking to his “bros” about. Maintaining a few stereotypes is just part of being human.
An odd thing has happened at BU, however: people have started to deviate from my expectations. Maybe if someone had defied my assumptions once, I could continue with my cynical mindset. But this phenomenon is now becoming so common that I’m beginning to question my attitude altogether.
These instances come unexpectedly. I’ll be going about my day, blissfully unaware of the shock soon to come, when I’ll pass by a table of sorority girls at the GSU, presumably trying to recruit more girls to join their cult — ahem — sisterhood. I come closer, just to realize that I have no idea if these girls are in a sorority or not, but they aren’t looking for pledges … they’re actually convincing people to sign up for a blood drive. Awkward.
A few days later, I’m trying to find a table in the dining hall, when I glance a group of athletic guys, the leader of the group obviously a former football player, wearing a red and blue hat with the word “America” on it and sporting a bro-tank. Taking a seat a few tables over, I laugh and shake my head at his telling clothing choice — until I hear him speak. “I guess you could call him Socratic,” former-football-bro says with no sense of sarcasm. His friends agree that this unnamed character certainly does have a Socratic air to him. They proceed to launch into a critique of government spending, which concludes in an articulate, intelligent argument about Obamacare. I’m in shock.
This string of surprises continued when I found myself studying with two guys from my philosophy class yesterday. They tell me that they’re both joining fraternities and were out partying the night before: the usual generalizations about their interests and intelligence permeate my mind. But, yet again I was wrong, as, by the end of our study session, I had engaged in a detailed conversation with my classmate about Gossip Girl. (We both agreed that Chuck was, by far, our favorite character.) Oh, and I found out we’d received the same scholarship to BU.
This is an outrage! I came to college to have the real, typical “college experience” with Greek life ruling the school, football dominating everyone’s weekend plans and kids getting unreasonably drunk solely due to the fact that they can for these four years. Only one of these is the case; I’ll give you a second to mull it over. Instead, I’m learning that people are much more complex than anyone can assume them to be, and that stereotypes are nothing more than placeholders for people we’re simply too lazy to get to know. It looks like it’s time to put my misconceptions aside.
Jessica Depies is a freshman in the College of Communication studying journalism. She can be reached at email@example.com.