It’s A Lot Like High School

“I feel like the Midwest is very–not old fashioned–but socially conservative; anything that is not normal is either wrong or judged most of the time.”

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Transcript for It’s A Lot Like High School

Kind of a long story, I ended up at Valpo. I was originally going to a school in Southern California in Los Angeles called California State University Northridge. I was swimming down there and our swimming team got cut my sophomore year, and once my swim team was cut I got an email from the Valparaiso coach and uh, he offered me a scholarship and they had my major so I headed out here.

I think the West Coast is more open to differences. When I feel like the Midwest is very not old fashioned but socially conservative; anything that is not normal is either wrong or judged a lot of the time. I know as a new person from California my first couple of months, I was known as, oh I would introduce myself and they’re like, “Oh I’ve heard about you. You’re the kid from California.”

Well, I mean yeah I’m from California, but that’s really not what defines me. I just feel like everything is, everybody talks, uh, it reminds me a lot of like high school. Like you can’t really do anything without being either judged or people know everything that you do. It’s very closed and close. I don’t know. Just anywhere I feel like everyone kind of has their set small clusters, and nobody’s open to change that or like to kind of encompass everybody. It’s just these small groups

A lot of times I don’t feel like I belong whenever some kind of controversial topic comes up because I don’t have the views of a lot of the people, that a lot of people do here. You know whether it be on gays, race, anything that’s kind of controversial and I feel a lot of times I either keep my mouth shut or if I do say something it doesn’t, I don’t know, it just kind of shoved to the side.

I was at a party. It wasn’t a big party, but it was you know a good group of friends, and some other people that just happened to come over, but there was a big group of African-American kids that came over and the rest of the party kind of went upstairs and was saying, making just racial comments and different not so much slurs but just making, cracking jokes, “Who turned out the lights at this party?” and just little stuff like that, and you know I really don’t agree with that.

And it’s, it was different. I mean, back home people make those comments and stuff, but it’s kind of a, it’s meant in a different way almost. Like people will make comments but it’s not to be taken seriously. I mean, it’s kind of a joke cause you know, I don’t know, that’s part of humor I guess to point out differences, but the first time I experienced it here it was like, “Oh, well, these people are actually being serious. They’re not just making a joke.” It wasn’t said in the same demeanor.

  • Bryn Cooley

    As someone who’s grown up in the Midwest, it’s really very interesting to hear a different perspective on our regional demeanor. Usually I hear things like ‘friendly’ and ‘family-oriented,’ and while those are nice things, the ‘socially conservative’ thing does pop up fairly regularly. It does kind of bug me that the area I’m from isn’t as progressive as I’d like it to be, but I have noticed that most Midwestern people won’t become hostile as a new opinion is voiced. There are always those few who do, of course, but I would hope that most are more accepting.

  • Jordan Bires

    Growing up in Indiana, I’ve definitely encountered most of the experiences in this interview. My family is, for the most part, very conservative. I, however, am not; I’m more like the speaker in this audio post. I understand that feeling of not belonging in this type of area because my views are so different from those around me.

  • A.J. Selig

    I’ve lived in the Midwest my whole life, and I have definitely encountered people like the ones mentioned by the speaker in the audio clip. Just because there are people with “socially conservative” viewpoints doesn’t mean that everyone in the Midwest has these viewpoints, but I can see how these opinions are much more popular in the Midwest than where the speaker is from and I think that if his changed in the Midwest it wouldn’t be a bad thing.