Dear College 101:
My classmates are constantly pushing me around. They make snide comments, give nasty looks, and try to push me or bump into me as we are leaving class. What can I do to stand up to them without causing more trouble?
Dear Picked On,
Since you used the word “constantly”, your classmate(s) may be practicing “bullying” behavior. Bullying is when someone consistently says mean things or exhibit threatening behavior (glaring/staring, pushing/shoving, name calling/cursing) on purpose to hurt someone for no apparent reason. This behavior creates imbalance of power between the bully and the victim(s). Depending on the seriousness of the bully/bullies behavior you encounter, different steps may need to be taken by you, peers and school personnel.
Stay Calm - don't over react. A bully looks for their victims to react, the more reaction they get, the more power they are given.
Act/Be assertive. Walk with your head held high. When engaging with people, make eye contact and speak confidently. If you walk by as though you're not afraid and hold your head high, others will see that you are sure of yourself and may be less likely to give you trouble.
Ignore them. As mentioned earlier, the less a bully gets a reaction from you, the less likely they will target you. Avoid contact with them if possible i.e., be the first or last to leave class.
Stand up for yourself. If ignoring a bully does not work, speak out loudly about what they are doing that is not appropriate. If you stand up for yourself and speak loudly enough for others to hear, you are empowering not only yourself but others who are or may be a target. This may bring others to the attention of your situation and come to your aid.
- Enlist assistance from faculty. If all your attempts do not work, seek support from your instructors/advisors.
As always, SRS is here 24/7 to help and coach you on how to approach this and other situations. Call us at 1-866-640-4777.