Most of us have heard the term before. For those of you who haven’t, it’s not hard to understand if you are at all familiar with Boston College and its student body. Imagine your typical BC student. What are some characteristics that come to mind? You might be picturing the ever-present BC bro or biddie. What many outsiders (and BC students alike) would think of is a wealthy, probably Caucasian, politically conservative young man or woman who wears brands like Vineyard Vines, Patagonia or J. Crew–and of course Bean Boots or Timberlands in the winter, Sperrys in the summer.
While there certainly are students with investment banker parents who “summer on the Cape,” it’s important for the world and our very own BC students to realize our student body is so much more than that. During my time at BC, I’ve encountered a wide range of people. I’ve met students from all regions of the country and even the world. A friend once told me she was sitting at a table in Mac and realized she was the only person from America there. Since everyone in her life had been from her home state of New Jersey, it was surreal to be surrounded by people with different perspectives and even cultures.
I’ve met students with single parents, students of every race and yes, students that come from wealthy families who are used to a comfortable lifestyle. However, one should not just write them off. The ones that I’ve met and befriended are deeper and more complex than outsiders might think. I’ve learned first-hand that just because your dad is a hedge fund manager and your mom never had to work a nine-to-five job to help support your family, doesn’t make you shallow or materialistic, a notion young people from the working class don’t always stop to consider.
If you fit the description of the aforementioned “typical” BC student,” don’t be afraid to form friendships with the atypical BC students. Likewise for the “atypical” BC students: Give the “typical” BC students–who might be considered the ones stuck in the BC Bubble–a chance. Some of them you won’t like, and that’s fine. But some of them might make you laugh harder than you ever have before, know exactly what to say to you when you’re at your lowest and become your best friends. Get to know people as individuals and don’t be intimidated by the idea of the BC Bubble. We’re all facing similar challenges at this stage in our lives.
With all this in mind, it’s important to acknowledge that BC is by no means a perfect melting pot or a hub of diversity. There is still a lot of room for greater diversity at BC in terms of race, economic status and religion, to name a few. However, don’t let the opportunity go by to take advantage of the diversity that you do find at BC. Talk to people who are different from you, be it physically, in their values, in their backgrounds.
Not to sound like an annoying guidance counselor, but broadening your friend group with people of various backgrounds will teach you a lot about yourself. It’ll make you think about why you believe what you believe. And, hello, college is the exact time in our lives in which we need to do this kind of thinking and start to figure out who the hell we are. Many people will not have the opportunity to experience so many different perspectives outside of college. So make full use of your time at BC to meet different people of different races, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Join the Arab Student Association if Middle Eastern culture appeals to you, even if you aren’t Arab. Join an LGBT rights group if you’re passionate about civil rights; you don’t have to be LGBT yourself. Bridge the divide between majors and schools as well. You don’t have to be in CSOM to join Women in Business. I have a good group of friends from every school at BC. The diversity in what we study make us an extremely well rounded and interesting group of friends, if I do say so myself. I value friendships in which all parties have varying interests just as much as, if not more than, friendships fueled by similar interests.
This is a rare opportunity in our lives. Don’t succumb to the perception of the BC Bubble. Learn not only from your classes while you’re here at BC, but learn from the various perspectives your peers have. College is one of the only times in a person’s life that they get to interact with people on a daily basis from such different backgrounds, and BC is no exception.