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Hampshire College

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What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Hippies. Liberal.

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Many people consider Hampshire a slacker or stoner school. I can see why this stereotype would arise about a college like this. There are no majors, no grades, no rules and it was established in 1970. Really, the truth is, that the fact that we lack majors and grades forces a student to make goals and standards for themselves. Most of the students that Hampshire accepts are overly ambitious students that do everything rather than just make the grade. So, I would argue, that Hampshire students often times end up doing more work in their undergraduate degree than many other students. But, it is also true that you can chose to make those standards and goals lax and not really do too much. But those are often the student that drop out. There are a lot of drugs at Hampshire. I have yet to see a keg on campus. But it is rare that I go a day without seeing some green.

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In the 5 College Consortium (so that's UMass Amherst, Amherst College, Smith and Mount Holyoke in addition to Hampshire), there's this idea that we're all represented in the 5 characters in Scooby Doo. Hampshire is Shaggy, and that's probably one of the easiest ways to think of the stereotypical Hampshire student. Laid-back, smokes a lot of weed. Hampshire's also known for being a hippie school- one assumes that Hampshire kids are vegans and wear hemp clothes and are involved in multiple activist organizations, the farther left, the better. The school itself, as a more alternative place (no grades, no majors, and the like) is often stereotyped as pretty easy- without grades or tests, people assume there's no real work to be done, and this would allow the above-mentioned students to spend more time smoking weed and attending protests.

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There are a lot of stereotypes about Hampshire students, with both positive and negative connotations. There are the sort of stereotypes that the Admissions office tries to play up about Hampshire and the students: that Hampshire students are self motivated, passionate about their work, and fiercely independent. There are also the more negative stereotypes, perpetuated by people who know little else about the school other than they saw on the Saturday Night Live sketch "Jared's Room". These stereotypes usually talk about how Hampshire is a huge hippie school full of lazy drug-doing students who major in Frisbee and don't have to actually do any work.

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Hampshire students are lazy potheads who slack off as much as possible. They are always high, always grungy and dirty and naively interested in radical, left wing politics that will never happen. On the other hand, many students believe that because they go to Hampshire, they are automatically left wing and liberal and open minded. They do not need to work at all, join different groups, become involved in discussions for this, in a sense, they do not need to work to earn this title, they already just have it.

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There are bound to be stereotypes about college students - we need simple concise ways to put people in boxes and try to understand them. Hampshire is no exception. The school was founded during the sixties in a rural area to complement the four existing schools in the area (Smith, Mount Holyoke, Amherst, and UMass). So the stereotype most common about Hampshire kids is that they are pot-smoking, tree hugging, do-nothing liberals who are not smart enough or motivated enough to get in/do the work anywhere else.

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That we are all homosexuals. That we all smoke cigarettes. That we never leave our rooms. That we are all antisocial in general. That we are all stoners, & pursue intoxication beyond the intellectual and into the hedonistic. That we are poor test-takers. That we do not play well with others. That we are all desparately insecure. That we are unexceptionally intelligent. That we are all rich, & utterly disinterested in money. That we LOVE ANIMALS!

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Some people look at Hampshire and say 'that's not a real college' because they don't take tests, because the students can do whatever they want, because that's not the way the real world works. People think we Hampshire students are all a bunch of hippies who would rather get high all day then open a book. A lot of people think this school is fully of a bunch of rich kids who can't push themselves and are basically going to a $50,000 camp every year.

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- We don't do any real work - We all do drugs, more so than our peers - We're all really liberal/progressive/leftist and therefore are not racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, classist, capitalistic, imperialistic, etc., either as individuals or as an institution - We can't get jobs/into graduate school after college

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Hampshire College is quirky and unique, both in the nature of the curriculum and the students that the college attracts - thus, the stereotypes surrounding Hampshire are plentiful. Hampshire stereotypes include: no grades are given, no quizes/tests/exams are given, students don't choose a major, and all students smoke.

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