Staff Editorial: Guilford’s new claim to fame: social awkwardness

For years, Guilford College has been recognized by college magazines and books for its rigorous academic programs and diverse student body.  This month, to some students’ amusement and others’ dismay, Guilford was featured at the top of a new list — socially awkward colleges.

InsideCollege, a popular college reference book and website, announced its top picks of “Schools for a Socially Awkward Student.” And, yes, Guilford College was one of them.

The labeling of our school as “awkward” begs the question: what exactly does this say about us?

The term “awkward” resurfaced in the last decade and is now thrown around quite liberally on the social scene. It has come to mean anything from “amusing” to “embarrassing” and has found its way into both affectionate teasing and harsh criticism.

Essentially, “awkward” has become synonymous with the word “different.”

Consequently, a group’s response to “awkward” students can say a lot about how open-minded and accepting that community is. Guilford’s recognition as a school that welcomes socially awkward students stands as evidence that our community embraces difference, regardless of the “awkward” label which may accompany it.

However, in a broader social context, the word “awkward” still holds negative connotations.

It is used to describe the misfits, the social rejects and the nerds — another set of labels which are thrown around carelessly to describe people who don’t fit into the constructs of social norms.

The fact that these labels still carry so much weight in our society shows that our nation continues to struggle to incorporate and accept different ideas and people.

People will interpret Guilford’s presence on this new list of “Schools for a Socially Awkward Student” however they want to, but to us it suggests Guilford’s ability to see potential value in every idea and every student.

And if that is what it means to be awkward, then it is something we should all be proud of.

The editorial board of the Guilfordian consists of five section editors, a photo editor, layout editor, web editor, diversity coordinator, advertising manager, video editor, executive print copy editor, executive web copy editor, social justice editor, managing editor, and editor-in-chief.

Reflecting Guilford College’s core Quaker values, the topics and content of Staff Editorials are chosen through consensus of all 16 editors.