What Is It this Time?

Brittany - Newport, North Carolina
Entered on October 23, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

What Was It This Time

It is the basic definition of high school: who you hang out with. It gives people first impressions, decides how many times you appear in the yearbook, and sculpts the way teachers view you. Most importantly, though, is the fact that it determines who your future self will be.

I see it everywhere, especially in my small-town high school: cliques of girls and guys with common characteristics. They’re easy to point out; each one of them is distinguished by their group’s stereotypes. The stoners, of course, sit at home, doing drugs with no plan for a future; the jocks are a bunch of idiots who may have a chance at a college scholarship; the nerds are typically the kids with no lives who will be going to college, and who are almost guaranteed to be at home on the weekend.

I was caught up in several groups at the beginning of my freshmen year: the geeks, the jocks, the middle of the liners…I wasn’t really sure where I stood. I was one of those kids who could be great or could be destined for failure. I hung out with some people who weren’t the best for me (people my parents had warned me about) reassuring myself that it was okay because I hung out with the “good” kids the rest of the time. As it turns out (and as I soon learned) it only takes one time to ruin your life.

All it took was one night on a beach with someone who I wasn’t supposed to be with to take away my parents’ trust in me. I don’t blame them. After all, I knew better; that doesn’t change the fact, however, that I resent their punishing me. From then on, it’s been nothing but restriction and constant reminders of my irresponsibility. I have to wonder, will they ever trust me again? Living with the constant guilt trips and the image ingrained into my brain of the day my father found out–the look on his face displaying the fear and worry he felt for me–makes me regret hanging out with those kids and defying his wishes.

If I could go back, I realize now, I would choose the higher road and hang out only with those who have a positive influence on my life. In the end, that experience has truly defined me and my high school life. It has molded my beliefs and the things I sanction my friends doing, and has helped me define what friends I keep and those that I drop. I guess you could say that in the end, with what I’ve described here, I really believe in the reality that who you hang with defines who you are.