Opinions: Rocca-ing the world: Bag the labels

Taking a deeper look inside


Lauren Rocca

Alicia Pieper, Olivia Grayson and Cara Peterson (12) sit with their own personal backpacks at lunch.

Every day I walk into school with my blonde hair, blue eyes, Golden-Line labeled backpack, and I slap a smile on my face, starting the day off as a happy-go-lucky person.

But the other day, I was just feeling… average. Not good. Not bad. Just average. But without my happy-go-lucky look that was so normal to my friends and teachers and parents, people kept coming up to me asking, “Lauren, are you okay?” 

People literally thought I was sick because I didn’t have a slight smile on my face.

It finally clicked that people had labeled me as “always happy.”

While that’s flattering, it’s also hard to live up to all the time. And I have this feeling that I’m not the only one who has experienced being slapped with a flattering, yet unreachable label.

The “jock” who always has to know what’s going on in the sports world.

The “hipster” who totally isn’t a hipster if their Tumblr URL is in their bio.

The “it girl” who just always has to look perfectly ready to take on the day even if it is 8 a.m..

And it goes on and on.

High school is wonderful and hard and complicated and terrible. It’s a bag full of emotions that each and every student blindly pulls from.

So why the labels if everyone knows no one is one emotion, one clothing style, one image?

Our bags will be pretty empty if we fill it with one defining thing. Isn’t it better for them to be full? Isn’t it better to be a well rounded person, rather than a flimsy, half-full, bag of ourselves?

At the ages of 14-18, we’re all just trying to figure ourselves out. I am.

And I plan on figuring myself out by exploring every side of me. The hipster side, the pretty girl side, the nerd side, the sporty side, the angsty teen side and maybe even the happy-go-lucky side.

I mean, hey, who said dancers can’t know a lot about football? We do dance at their games.

Outside of the high school’s walls, labels mean absolutely nothing. So if everyone spends four years building up their “label,” it’s just wasted time.

Because, really, we label ourselves more than other people label us. We get so used to doing things we’ve always done and describing ourselves as things we’ve always been: dancers, soccer players, theatre kids, mathletes, etc.

But we are more.

I am more than the label “Golden Line,” embroidered on the pocket of my backpack for everyone to see.

We are worth more than labels give us credit for.

The labels are like price tags.

But bags full of our interests and activities and passions are priceless.

So the labels are unnecessary.

Let’s rip off the price tags, the labels that flimsily define our worth.  

Let’s, instead, look into all our bags and use the good and throw out the bad.

Let’s use the items in our bags to seek an adventure: the exploration of ourselves.