Authentic Individuality Key to Contentment

Jensen Rasmussen, Staff Writer

While Campolindo is not a private institution, its students exhibit a level of uniformity in appearance associated with the typical Catholic school. There may not be a designated school uniform, but most girls can be spotted sporting Lululemon leggings, hooded sweatshirts, and white Air Force One’s; boys on the other hand are commonly outfitted in khaki pants and polo shirts or sweatshirts.

Rather than by administrative decree, this standardization is the result of the time honored tradition among teens to fear standing out from their peers.

We claim to celebrate individuality, risk-taking, yet few are brave enough to stray from the herd when it comes to fashion.

Over the last 2 years, I have encountered few who decidedly choose to wear daring outfits, asserting their personal style. There are far too few who are willing to challenge the athleisure trend on our campus.

“When it comes down to it in the morning choosing what you’re going to wear, a lot of people would rather just fit in than take the time to pick out a more stylish outfit, partly because they will be judged for it. There’s nothing that people can judge them for when they wear something like Lululemon leggings and sweatshirts,” said sophomore Daylin Atwood.

This apprehension is not due to a lack of taste or flair. Rather, it is rooted in the desire to conform.

According to Psychology Today, the craving to fit in and be a part of the group is human nature. Teens and adults alike feel comfortable when they can identify themselves with a group, as personal autonomy was an important aspect in hunter-gatherer societies.

While conformity seems to be ingrained in our DNA, those who do choose the take the path less traveled are often surprised by the support they receive from peers. “I think that people do find when they put a little more effort into their outfits, people do accept them,” added Atwood.

The reality may be that the negative consequences we associate with standing out are all in our heads.

While this concept of conformity holds true for people of all ages, it has a much more detrimental impact on adolescents. Our culture of conformity needs to end. We need to embrace what makes each one of us unique.

According to Daily Record, teens most commonly report conforming to the status quo for fear of not being liked. This unhealthy mindset appears to have grown increasingly more commonplace.

The manifestation of this desire to conform can go far beyond style choices. Some students alter their entire personality in order to blend into the crowd.

Such perceived pressures can lead to an acceleration of the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Daily Record added that makeup usage has increased 90% in the past 10 years, just as traditional high school subgroups like goths have ceased to exist. reports that the pressure to conform can lead to depression and feelings of inadequacy. The media presents images of “perfect” people, fueling desires to adapt. Because such perfection is unrealistic, many individuals experience low self-esteem, self-hatred, and depression.

The desire to fit in leaves 1 susceptible to peer pressure, according to GoodTherapy. For example, a teen may drink and drive because they’ve seen their friends do it, putting their own life at risk in order to blend in with the crowd. Similarly, some teens engage in reckless sex because they feel this will help them to fit into a group.

Psychology Today reports that authenticity correlates directly to an individual’s happiness. When a person feels true to themselves in both their actions and expressions of self, they are reportedly happier than in a moment when they feel unauthentic.

Changing up an outfit may not be a magical solution to the myriad of challenges faced by teens. It can be the 1st step however, as we strive to be authentically ourselves, avoiding conformity through what we say, who we spend time with, and what we believe. Creating our own, unique opinions is an expression of individuality, as is wearing a stylish outfit that radiates authenticity.