The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

Graphic by Miranda Li.

Who Are You: Self-Identity at LAHS

The concept of “finding yourself,” though nebulous in definition and awfully vague, is familiar to people from all walks of life, whether they are psychologists who study it day and night or high school students just opening their eyes to the world. The study of psychology has found that self-identity is largely shaped by metaperception: what we think people think of us. We define and categorize ourselves based on how we believe others define and categorize us, and we tend to act accordingly.

External stereotypes exist, such as gender, cultural and racial stereotypes, but so do self-stereotypes — humans tend to place themselves into a group and accentuate the similarities between themselves and the other members of the group. This tendency to act more like how people see us is conceived from the innately social aspect of human nature and our inherent desire to fit in.

Especially in the social hierarchy of high school, we are constantly concerned with the image that we are presenting to others. During our impressionable adolescent years, we attempt to refine our images and “find ourselves,” oscillating between various social groups and switching definitions. Like switching jeans, we try on all different styles, colors and sizes until we find a primary factor that is our most comfortable identity.

But while the psychology pertaining to identity can be objectively stated, “Who are you?” remains a question with many facets. In this spread, The Talon looks at what students have found to be the largest defining influence on their self-identities at this point in their lives.

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