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Is Identity Independent of Class?

It’s easy to conform and hide what your background is.

-Jade Moon ’13


Mr. O’Donnell went to boarding school, and he had the observation that boarding school could hide socioeconomic difference in a way because you have such limited space–you have just a little cubicle, you’re not going to someone’s house. They may talk about their vacations, and that’s the real world, but none of it’s really real, so you can kind of reinvent yourself and choose not to express the reality of your background.

-Sonja O’Donnell

I feel like it’s not easy at all to hide your socioeconomic class because you’re always in other people’s rooms and you see everything they have.

-Daniel Hirsch ’13


As much as we hate to admit it, conforming is really nice, because it’s easy. I know a lot of people who have something that makes them different and would kill for nothing more than to get rid of that. Even though we say we should be different and do our own thing, it’s really hard. I don’t think we should accuse people of conforming.

-Michael Beit ’15


Is the bigger conversation about self-confidence? Who has that ability to be who they are? To be able to say, “No, I don’t need to buy those. I’m okay with wearing this, and with where my family comes from.” It’s hard for an adolescent, so I think we, as a community, could do a better job. I don’t know what it is that we should do to make people feel comfortable wearing whatever they want, going wherever they want on the weekend, or friending whomever they want. So that self-confidence piece is a big, over arching piece of the puzzle.

-Kristin Loftus, Residential Head, Health Services


You have to think about the kids who aren’t in that dominant culture. What if they do think about it all the time because they feel, “I’m not in this dominant culture. I’m going to be judged because I don’t have all the things other kids have.” It’s uncomfortable, because while it’s great that we are such a wonderful, accepting place, everyone else has their own insecurities. Those can hinder some from really trying.

-Tarah Timothe ’15


I think the message at the outset about “it’s not what you have on your body, but it’s how you carry yourself and it’s how you are as a person” is more important.

-Mimi Morsman


One of the biggest challenges at this stage of life—adolescence—is figuring out who you are and where you fit in. You’re thrown into this mix of 630+ other teens asking those same questions. How quickly and easily anyone can start to feel like they should be more like the others or should have access to what they have, and that there’s something wrong with them if they don’t. That can feel very burdensome.

-Stuart Bicknell, Psychologist, Coordinator of Counseling Health Services