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School spirit: the echo of experience

Written By Wesley Stuckey

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School spirit constitutes much more than blind devotion to an educational institution. It provides an insight into an individual’s experiences and emotions. To answer the question of whether I have school spirit or not requires a bit more than a simple yes or no (although the answer is yes). The reasons why, however, are much more important than this simple statement of fact.

In 2015, my high school did “Spirit Week,” and on “Spirit Friday” it was expected that each student wear the customary colors and insignias of North Hills Senior High School – red, white and the school logo with the mascot – the Indians. In an ingenious mockery of the absurdity of “Spirit Friday” I drew a ghost on a white t-shirt and brought a couple of plastic and newspaper ghosts with me – school spirits. People would ask me why I wore the shirt, and I would answer, “Because it’s spirit day!” and throw a ghost.

The reason I did this was simple. I disliked my high school — I did not choose to go there, did not like the people I went to school with, and I found their mascot insensitive. Looking back on my school spirit throughout my high school years, I realize that I had absolutely none. I’m glad to be out of high school and hated being in it.

This is different for Point Park. As a freshman, I still do not have many experiences or emotions to effectively determine how great my love for this institution is. I’m happy to see a Point Park sticker or shirt, but I’m still a bit derisive when I see someone walking around with one on. It’s probably just harbored resentment from high school, and maybe a bit of cynicism, too. I know you go to Point Park; I’m here with you.

Really though, one of the saddest things about school spirit is how it’s used to manipulate people into attending or supporting school sporting events. Marketing school spirit combined with sporting events is a very powerful tool. The psychological pull to be part of a large group is easily manipulated in this sense. This is a little too harsh, maybe, but it certainly is an influence on people.

Experience defines who we are as individuals more than any other factor. Memories are the echoes of experience resounding in our heads. The influence that memories and experience have on one’s perception of an academic institution affect people’s lives long after leaving. My point, really, is that it’s hard to say whether you have school spirit, especially when taking in the ways time and experience affect it.

School spirit is easy to find, but once you look introspectively about why you have it, it’s much harder to justify than you’d think.

I expect that within the next few years, I’ll have good reasons to have school spirit or to not.

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School spirit: the echo of experience