“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.”
Hold a Conversation
Can you imagine leading a conversation about this story? Where? With whom? What kinds of questions would you pose? (See How to use the questions for reflection for one approach.) Please email your questions to us or post them in the comment box for our consideration. If you use them in an actual discussion, let us know how the conversation went.
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.