Labels BY Meghan Boure

In this project I will explore the label of being a dorm/international student here at Thornton Academy.

"An international student is defined as an individual who is enrolled for credit at an accredited higher education institution in the U.S. on a temporary visa, and who is not an immigrant (permanent resident with an I-51 or Green Card), or an undocumented immigrant, or a refugee." - William Paterson University

This is what some people had to say...

People think we are all really wealthy.
They only want to hang out with other dorm kids
We get stereotyped by how we look and people act differently based on the country they think we come from
They always walk really slow in the halls
They are really smart in school

So what does this show about the thoughts people have regarding the label of a dorm student?

DOrm students feel as if they need to

  • Have a ton of money and be able to show that just because they go to school in another country
  • Be really smart in school which can cause stress and pressure if they feel they can't amount to that label
  • Have "cool" clothes and always look they're best because they have that label of wealthy
  • Only hang out with other dorm kids because they feel no one else will give them a chance thus furthering that stereotype

Are there any advantages to being labeled as a dorm student?

Advantages are...

  • Being perceived as lucky enough to be able to travel and learn in another country.
  • Being seen as having cool clothes and being really smart

Disadvantages are...

  • Not having people want to try to be your friend
  • Feeling as though you can only be friends with other dorm students
  • Feeling as though people immediately judged your intellect and how well you can speak based on how you look.
  • Having pressure to live up to the standards of having all that money or being smart

So while it may seem like being labeled a dorm student on the surface would be a good thing because people think they are wealthy and smart the reality it much different. It isn't fair to those who chose to learn and immerse themselves in another culture to judge their families wealth based on the fact they traveled to learn. It doesn't help either to assume they are all geniuses because that creates pressure for them to constantly live up to that and that can be stressful. Having all this pressure to be seen a certain way isn't helpful to anyone and can really hurt those who want to branch out and make friends when they feel like no one will be theirs.

Labeling me...

For this project I chose the label of academic overachiever as I've always felt this pressure to constantly do well in school effortlessly.

To perform, especially academically, above the potential indicated by tests of one's mental ability or aptitude.

At my old school, my best friend was always very smart and so from being associated with her I felt as though I was put into this category of being smart and always doing well without trying. As time went on my parents just began to expect me to always do really well in school and my classmates always made comments saying I "didn't have to try in school" because I was just "naturally smart". This caused a lot of stress and anxiety for me because when I didn't understand a lesson I felt alone because all the students around me expected me to understand the lesson immediately.

How the label has impacted my life...

  • I constantly try and outdo myself in how well I do and how hard I work
  • I get stressed out over any grade that isn't a 100
  • I feel inadequate doing creative project and would rather write an essay because I feel like I can't do as well
  • I feel stressed over maintaining all A's all the time
  • Studying for test, and quizzes to get that perfect grade and have it seem effortless becomes a nightmare
  • I constantly feel that if I don't do well in school I let others down

While there have been downsides to feeling as though I always need to do well I think it's in a way pushed me to see that I am able to do things when I put my mind into it. I think I've learned to ask questions and always strive to do better for myself which I think in turn has helped push me into wanting to go to medical school someday.

The End.

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