The Renegade Rip

School spirit, still living or a thing of the past?

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When one thinks of school spirit, it no doubt brings a flood of letterman jackets, cheerleaders and homecoming floats to mind. It’s also Friday night lights pouring onto the football field waiting for the newly appointed king and queen to greet their subjects.

Or perchance you prescribed that school spirit was pointless and sullenly scoffed at those choreographed parades herded into the gym, and rather spent your time ruminating over ways to end school spirit altogether.

The iconic pep rally was the mingling of these polar opposites. Recall the parade of pom-poms and athletes juxtaposed to the deflated, angst filled teens shuffling feet and popping off snarky quips about the futility of such exercises.

This dominating view of the archetype of school spirit may provide for comedy or insight on some magnified sociological experiment, but ultimately defeats what school spirit should be.

School spirit should not be either one of these polar opposites. The proper balance of pride and criticism is required to make yourself a successful student while simultaneously elevating your school.

Someone who is blindly supportive of his or her school of choice only does a disservice to fellow students and faculty. Questioning the decisions a school makes, be it athletically or academically, is vital to the growth of school spirit. Especially at a collegiate level, schools respond to what students say and act accordingly for the most part. Don’t lead your administration astray by pledging loyalty to bad systems or cheating teams just because it is your school. Keep your hats and booster jackets. Let your weekend revolve around the football game and pep rallies. But always keep in mind that objective analysis creates richer programs and fosters even more room for improvement.

Constantly being highly critical of your institution of choice has a similar effect in the realm of school spirit. When you can’t recognize the good things a school participates in, like blind loyalty, it detracts from not only your experience but others as well.

The projection of this ill-will creates a face to outsiders that portray your school as a mandatory institution rather than a center of higher learning.

You are the face of the school, not some suit and tie counting beans.

Incessant denigration keeps others from getting an unbiased account of what your school might actually be like.

You may not wear every piece of school-affiliated clothing, go to every football game, or participate in homecoming week. These things do not denote you as a detractor. Just keep in mind all of the goods things your school does. People get enjoyment from sports and pom-poms. There are people around you who are vastly growing and your school is providing that opportunity.

A whole school is a complete school. Objective pride in your school creates a campus that is one cohesive piece that benefits from increased awareness and from new connections made between people.

Take pride, but also take care.

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School spirit, still living or a thing of the past?