This I Believe

Claire - 77494, Texas
Entered on November 24, 2008

I believe in showing kindness and compassion to everyone because I never know what someone is really going through or where they have been.

Entering my Algebra II class the second semester of my junior year, I was disappointed to hear the teacher announce, “Today I am going to assign new seats to everyone.” When my name was called, I looked up and realized my seat would be next to the most annoying and weird girl in the class, Katy. I immediately began dreading the semester. During the first semester I sat across the room from Katy and was annoyed by her even from such a long distance as she asked pointless questions and exhibited weird habits such as picking her nose. Secretly, I was disgusted by the fact that I had to sit next to her, but something inside me told me to make a conscious effort to be compassionate towards her. Every day I would greet her with a “hello,” and she seemed to take great happiness that not only was someone talking to her, but also that I was an upperclassman.

We continued to talk throughout the semester. Then one day she came into class late, crying her eyes out. I asked her what was wrong, and she began to tell me about how she had been picked on in P.E. that day. I told her she should talk to an administrator because she shouldn’t have to deal with abuse. She refused my advice and said that it had never helped before. Then she decided to tell me her life story.

Beginning with how she was always different as a child and never fit in, she said that she had been picked on and bullied throughout her life. She eventually began to accept this bullying and incessant verbal abuse from her classmates as a normal way of life. Never knowing who to turn to she became numb to the bulling and decided to keep it inside.

In this moment I saw all her emotions from her past come out as she told me this story. I began to pity her as I realized all of her constant talking had been her futile attempts to make friends. She just wanted a friend to talk to and share her life with. I became that friend for her that day. She seemed more at peace after that day when she talked to me. Although I do not have any classes with her this year, I see her in the hall; and I smile in hopes to brighten her day.

Katy is a perfect example of how judging someone who seems different is not acceptable. That year I learned more about compassion than ever before. No matter how strange or annoying someone may seem, everyone acts the way they do because of events in their lives that have affected them. I believe in the importance of daily making a conscious effort to reach out to those who otherwise may not have a friend.