COLUMN: Looking into the stereotypes

Joanna Williams

Up until an hour before my deadline, I had absolutely no idea what to write for this column. Of course, a few ideas came to me here and there, but none of them seemed engaging enough to keep you all eagerly coming back week after week.

That’s the word that kept running through my mind as I sat at my desk: engaging. Or if I could write on a topic that is engaging. I mean, what’s the point of writing if no one is going to read it? And what’s the point of reading if you don’t gain anything from it? 

Then, with the help of Stephanie, our copy desk chief, I decided I would dedicate this column to writing about all the preconceived notions college students face on a daily basis. Or to simplify, the stereotypes, prejudices and plain ole’ generalizations that I’m sure many people on this campus — especially the ones who don’t fall so neatly into categories — have to deal with.

Whether that is being judged off of what you’re studying, or plan to do with your life, or, to push it further, your race, sexuality or being a traditional student as well as a parent.

We are at a public state university with 21,000-plus students. The groups that pervade this campus are extensive. I won’t waste space listing them all, but the labels we give these groups unknowingly limit our chance to learn from each other. 

We all like to think that we’ve made progress when it comes to accepting each other, but what I see and hear every day proves that’s not always true.

Now I’m not sure if this is engaging, and I don’t know if I’m competent enough to be touching on these subjects, but one of the things my philosophy professor explained to me (I’m a philosophy major, by the way) is that it’s okay to be wrong. The discussion is what matters. So if I write something that strikes a nerve or you say to yourself “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about,” I think that’s a good thing — you’re thinking.

Oh, and I’ll also try to pull some pop culture tidbits to heighten my point. And maybe try to put some humor in it. Most of all, I hope to utilize this space by introducing you all not only to myself but also to the different people on campus who make WKU the special place that it is.