This I Believe

Justin - Bismarck, North Dakota
Entered on January 29, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Variety for Versatile Character

It had come, a defining day of my life.

The first day of middle school is probably nerve-racking for everyone, but being the new kid in town in eighth grade, a year after all others’ trials, I was terrified. Granted, I had made friends over the summer in a play production, but I was not ready for them to be my only friends. Within the first two weeks of school I had engaged in drifting away from my old acquaintances so that I could encounter all of the other interesting people Horizon Middle School had to offer.

I slowly started analyzing where I might fit. Quickly, I realized that the school had developed a caste-like social system. At lunch mostly the popular preps and jocks sat on the bottom level of our tiered cafetorium. The moderately popular students sat on the middle tier and the geeks and druggies sat on the top. Lunch frightened me everyday as I frantically scanned the room in search of a spot that wouldn’t harm future social standing, but by and by I came to a realization. I wouldn’t allow this middle school society to define me. I would define myself as the person I wanted to be. By the end of the first quarter I had sat with many people including those labeled as the preps, jocks, goths, emos, druggies, and normals.

This decision helped me not only get through middle school with plenty of friends but the variety also influenced me. I learned and grew so much in that time. Now in the middle of my high school experience and college and career preparation, I still carry this lesson. I enjoy being in plays, choir, band, dance, math and language clubs, swimming and other sports. Each activity has instilled qualities in me to be used in my everyday life. Tenacity, ingenuity, and amiability are such qualities that have been strained from the hard work done. I may hate some parts of my commitments, but that only indicates my specific interests and reminds me of what I love. I know that every one of these opportunities will help determine who I am.

I believe in variety and versatility.