“If He/She Had Been Like the Rest of Us”. How Do Young People Describe Their Schoolmates Who Are Different from Others in the Group?

  •  Minna Saarinen    
  •  Satu Mattila    


The article examines issues related to peer interactions and group joining in upper secondary schools in Finland. The study elaborates on how young people describe students who are left out/excluded or who remain outside the social networks. The study also elucidates on how a student can join the group. The research is motivated by the current educational ethos, which emphasizes inclusion and tolerance. The data were collected from an upper secondary school and vocational and technical institute. The students were asked to recall the prior high school year and write an essay on the topic. A total of 49 students wrote about their memories. The data were analyzed using inductive content analysis, and the study found that students are either excluded or included due to the social skills they possess. Those who do not exhibit the same approach to being in a group will stay on the sidelines. The essays also described factors that connect students, such as hobbies and leisure activities. Similarity in many external factors (e.g., the family’s economic situation) unites students. Contrary to expectations, young people described themselves, and not just others, as outsiders.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-5250
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-5269
  • Started: 2012
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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