Everyone needs a certain amount of bullying.
I understand that may seem brutish, but let me explain. I don’t mean real, physical bullying, and I’m not advocating for everyone to get a swirlie or to get shoved into their locker every other day. What I mean is that a certain level of verbal chiding from siblings, friends, and strangers alike can go a long way for a maturing young person.
As sophomore Claire Gaudet put it quite bluntly, “I sucked, and then I got bullied, and then I became cool.”
At Hillsdale, we have an unusually high percentage of students that, prior to their time at the college, only ever had their eight siblings as classmates. Homeschooling is a great thing that can benefit both the student and their family in countless ways, but for many of those that spent much of their time learning outside of a traditional in-school setup, there can certainly be some social disconnects.
Certain societal norms, like not wearing a suit to class every day or wearing shoes at all times in public places, are simply missed by some in this situation.
What others think about you should not take up the majority of your thinking — far from it — but there is an undeniable amount of “I would look really weird if I did this” that is both healthy and necessary as you think about putting on a fedora before class in the morning.
Growing up, if I walked downstairs in a disastrous outfit I thought looked good — which was commonplace — any one of my three brothers wouldn’t hesitate to let me hear it.
If I somehow made it past them, I was sure to get a similar level of honesty from my friends at school.
Learning how to dress isn’t the only motivation for having a little extra bullying in your life, nor the most important. The widely-accepted intricacies of social interaction, including what is or isn’t too much to share in a public setting, are easy to instill with a little verbal rebuking.
While I’m sure I enjoy seeing couples get incredibly physically intimate in the Union or the library as much as the next guy, it’s not conducive to a focused learning environment, or even just a normal trip to AJ’s.
It’s my personal feeling that a well-placed, pointed admonition of those violating social norms to this degree would go a long way to help make everyone’s Hillsdale experience much better.
“I wish I was bullied more,” sophomore Michael Bachmann said. “By all metrics, I should have been. All my current problems are caused because I wasn’t bullied enough.”