This I Believe

Courtney - Greeley, Colorado
Entered on February 16, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Even in all of the history lessons, English lectures, and math notes I have sat through, I have found that the one thing that I have learned from high school, a teacher didn’t teach me.

On my first day of high school, I was surrounded by normal groups of kids, all in jeans and t-shirts. The friends stood in groups, and I couldn’t tell one person from another. Of course, there were outliers: the Goths in black, the preppy girls in skirts and high-heeled shoes, or the slackers in pajamas. But they were still just one person in a group full of others just like them. It seemed to me no one was really as unique as they said they were, or at least they didn’t dress uniquely to show their personalities. I thought it was because high school is one of those times when kids are afraid of getting mocked for any small thing they say or do. Still, with all the kids saying they were individuals, I sure wasn’t seeing it. I even started to believe that shirt, “You’re unique, just like everybody else.”

Then I saw the one person to stand out in the crowded halls. She was wearing a bright yellow shirt with bright orange pants. Oh, I might as well say it. It was me in my orange sherbet pants (I was trying to make the story more humble). I suddenly noticed that I was out of place with my bright green shoes and blinding colors of clothes. I needed to change and fast. I didn’t know anyone and standing out was not my intention. I wanted to meet people, not turn them away with the glare my pants were letting off.

I really never thought about clothes before, but high school sure made me worry. Most of my clothes were hand-me-downs from my sisters with my style. In middle school, I was made fun of a few times, but it did not bother me one bit. However, in a school with fourteen hundred people, I was scared. What would everyone think of me? What would they say behind my back? Then I remembered how I define unique. Unique means not letting peer pressure make you into something you are definitely not. I then learned that true friends don’t care how you dress. I also learned not everyone was bland and boring, a slacker, or suicidal as I thought.

Now as high school continues, I am continually reminded of the two important lessons I learned. I didn’t learn them in a classroom instead I learned them from my friends and maybe a little from my inner scardy-cat. I discovered people express themselves in many different ways (not just clothes as a form of expression). Also, I believe everyone should take every opportunity to express themselves and show people who they really are instead of pretending to be something they aren’t. Why blend in when you can always stand out?