“Out of the infinite choices one has in life, its the ones that you make that make you so different from others.” -David Yi.
I believe that I can be different from others by the choices I make, which will ultimately alter the way others perceive me. I actually sound quite vague within this statement, but it is a shortened sentence to portray the beliefs that I recently acquired. The world that I’ve encountered in the past 17 years of my existence is probably not the full book of life, but enough to realize some principles that I should exercise.
Two years ago as a freshman in high school, I entered S International School not realizing how different the school truly was. The dominant social hierarchy existed in our school as it did in the military: fearful, emphasized, tyrannical, and derived from Confucianism. Being ignorant of this, I breezed by the year until a senior calls me out. This was where it began.
The senior would bring me with a group of his friends and criticize me for how I behave and for my lack of manners. Bewildered because I felt that I had done nothing, I tried to talk back, but realized that it was futile. I would be stuck with this kind of system that puts me at the bottom of the social food chain until I become a junior.
After two grueling years of this social hierarchy, I, a junior now, am the one who claims unquestionable power over underclassmen. Because this unique culture was drilled into my head since the debut of my high school career, I felt that it had been my turn to claim the respect and power that previous juniors had had. However, after subconsciously bullying an underclassman, I was suspended from school. Within those few days of suspension, I realized that this tyrannical system was irrational and obsolete; I did not need to belong to such a system. The system was comprised of widespread fear and primitivity of upperclassmen; the one’s with the most power were oldest, being able to do anything they pleased.
Just because other upperclassmen take advantage of this social hierarchy within my school community, doesn’t mean I have to also add to that enormous presence of fear in the underclassmen. I resolved recently to not engage in anything without thinking thoroughly about it.
As for now, I’m one of the very few upperclassmen who do not exercise this power. But I do not need such power. I can be different; being different from my peers can make me a more open person to come and confront. Speaking presently, I feel this trait is far more favorable than being the stereotypical monarch of high school.
Even now, as I have close freshmen who are gradually getting less afraid of me, that even if I’m the only one who chose to do this, I have no regrets at all.
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