The term “clique” incites multiple connotations amongst many people, and resonates as a flashback from old, awkward high school days.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, clique is defined as “a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons; especially :  one held together by common interests, views, or purposes.”

Now compare that to the Urban Dictionary (the slangy, slightly more relatable dictionary) definition: “a group of people who hang around each other because they belong to the same stereotypical group (ex- goths, emos, preps, nerds, skaters etc). they hate rival cliques. pretty much the stupidest thing in middle school and high school history” and now you get a general understanding of what a clique is.

Cliques are usually deemed as “dumb” in high school, but what people don’t realize (as they mature into college students) is that cliques just transform into really awesome social circles in college. With this maturation, you even see an evolution to the word (clique –> social circle), which is no longer associated with negative connotations. Most of these social circles consist of students who are in similar majors. The transition from high school to college can be difficult, as many of your once “best friends” grow apart and people move on. College is a self-fulfilling experience that enables you to meet people from various backgrounds and learn more about yourself and the way you interact with others. The best part about hanging out with people with the same major is that you all share the same struggles with classes and have similar career goals. Many of the friends you make in college stay your friends for your adult lifetime, becoming coworkers, colleagues and the people who will eventually attend your wedding someday. College is not about hating another group, or in this case, another major. There is always competition between people in the same major, but it is a healthy dose of competition. Other college social circles include the Greeks, which are a huge part of undergraduate life, and people associated with various clubs and jobs on campus.

In high school, I socialized mainly with the IB/AP nerds and the drama kids. I never associated myself with a particular clique because I had friends of many different backgrounds and tastes. Moving onto college, I found it harder for myself to find a particular group to hang out with because I lived the “commuter life,” traveling from home to college, not living on campus.

However, at the University of La Verne, by the beginning of my sophomore year, I became more involved with the journalism department and spent my time writing, reading, socializing, and eating in the newsroom with my fellow editors. It was in this small room, filled with computers and awards tacked high on the walls, that I found my niche. This is where I met some of my greatest colleagues, who not only improved my writing, but helped me get through my hardest days. The Campus Times newsroom was my refuge, and I felt the most comfortable there.

Whenever you start a new journey, whether it involves a new job or a new school, you will always be taken out of your comfort zone.

With my admission transfer to the University of Southern California, I begin a quest, once again diving into the college lifestyle on a much larger scale and searching for a new comfort zone. This time, living on campus, I will be forced to socialize with others and perhaps meet some of the coolest people. I am also changing majors, so I will engage with a different group of peers, which will be beneficial to my growth as a student.

If you are in high school and are graduating soon, I urge you to look at college social circles in a positive light, because everyone is part of one regardless if they put a label on it or not.

If you are in college and are struggling with finding a social circle, be more involved. Join a club or greek life, get a job on campus, study abroad–the possibilities are endless.

  • Erum is a junior international relations major at the University of Southern California. As a representative for the Muslim South Asian diaspora, she hopes to bring a voice for underrepresented minority women in the news media.