In high school, I embodied a lack of school spirit. I went to two football games my entire high school career and left halfway through both of them. It wasn’t that I thought I was too cool to support my peers. It wasn’t that I hated my school with a burning passion (well, not really). My lackluster feelings of school spirit can probably be traced back to the fact that I don’t understand or really like sports (and there were few things to support other than sports) and that my school as a whole wasn’t exactly teeming with spirit.
But that has been the beautiful thing about college so far: school spirit just seems to come naturally to all of us – it’s just part of the experience. This is probably due to the (obvious) fact that all of us chose to come to this school. We all fought to be here and, naturally, being proud of that accomplishment, we appreciate any opportunity presented to express that pride. Whereas for the most part we were just funneled into our high schools based on where we lived or more generally our parents’ decision, our presence at college was one that we made – or at least more so than our high school.
The other great contributor to this surge in school spirit (at least for me) is the ability to support a variety of different aspects of our school. Whereas in high school it seemed that the choice was to go cheer for a sports team or buy a ticket to the play and/or musical, in college there’s a wide variety of ways to support our peers. In the past week alone, I supported peers who entered a pie-baking contest by testing their culinary creations (I know, my life is hard), and I attended a student run dance show and a bad poetry contest. And while I still haven’t attended a sports event here, I hear that my university at large found a way to bond over that (maybe not in the most productive way – but still! Bonding!).
Believe me, my newfound “school spirit” thing took me by surprise. I’m an admittedly cynical and sarcastic person. After going to a high school I feel no attachment to, I wasn’t expecting to turn into the kind of person that shows up to every school event, pom-poms in hand. But it seems to me that these four years are my last chance to be part of a clearly defined community. After this, I’ll probably have to work a lot harder at feeling as though I’m part of something bigger than myself. And maybe that’s kind of a downer, but I choose to see it as an opportunity – an opportunity I’m going to embrace.
Want to contact the author of this post? Email her at JulieZ@TheFBomb.org. Julie Zeilinger also edits and blogs for The F Bomb.