This I Believe

Micaela - Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
Entered on December 4, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I have a friend who is the baby of her family. Her older brothers and sisters are pretty wild, and have all gotten into trouble one time or another. From smoking marijuana to getting into physical fights, her brothers and sisters participated in all of it. As the years went on, and her older brothers and sisters went through school, her family developed a reputation. When my friend and I started middle school, kids started making bad decisions. Many of our teachers assumed, based on their experiences with her siblings, my friend would be one of those bad decision makers.

One time during class, my friend was talking while the teacher was talking. After asking her to stop talking, the teacher rolled his eyes and mumbled “Good thing you’re the last of them.” Little remarks like this, from teachers, made my friend really upset.

I saw how frustrated this made my friend. Every little mistake she made seemed to have a connection with her family. When teachers would not even take the time to know her, it made her feel hopeless. What was the point of behaving, when either way people in authority would look down upon her? It bothered me a lot, because I knew how smart and level headed my friend was, but she did not get a chance to prove how intelligent she was. Today, my friend struggles to have good relationships with her teachers and she does not do as well as she could in school. She has a hard time making an effort when, usually, teachers do not take her seriously.

I believe that all people define themselves; people should have the chance to prove that to others. It frustrates me when people make assumptions about others based on what they have heard about that person or who that person’s family and friends are. Friends and family are very influential. Even when the example set is negative, it can exemplify what not to do. Each person acts for themselves.

People also have the ability to change, and if we aren’t looking for that change, then we will no see it. When I was younger, I was always told that each person is unique, and I still hear that today. If that is the case, that we are all different, why should we be judged based on other people?