This I Believe

Rachel - Johns Island, South Carolina
Entered on May 17, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

If I had to choose one belief to wear on my sleeve, it would be individualism. I realize that individualism may seem like a given because America is supposed to be the most diverse country. If you think about it, isn’t everyone trying to become the most “all-American” person? If America is so diverse, they why are we trying to stereotype ourselves into being perfect? Why are we all trying to become societal leeches? We should be able to live for ourselves and be satisfied with who we are.

At my high school, there are eight different art areas that are offered for students to major in. I am a dance major. Within each major, there are different stereotypes. The vocal majors are known to be loud and obnoxious, while the visual artists tend to be reclusive and misunderstood. The dance majors, however, are known to gossip, wear short skirts and high heels, and are generally known to be on the low end of the class rank scale.

Last year, when I was a junior, I decided to take my first AP class. Although I was really excited about it, many of my peers voiced their negative opinions about my ambition. I was actually one of the first dance majors to ever take AP US History. I wanted a challenge and I was determined to prove people wrong. I didn’t want to fit into the dance major stereotype. I didn’t want to be a living Barbie. I had high goals for myself and I wanted people to see me for who I was and not which major I belonged to. I did very well in the class, and I am glad to say that my peers misjudged me.

People should break free from their stereotypes and begin to shape themselves into who they truly are and not who society made them. People should be able to learn from their own life experiences and not shape their lives on the beliefs of others. Each person should use their experiences to create his own life story. One’s life story shouldn’t end with him finally achieving the ultimate stereotype. It should end with the individual becoming satisfied with who he really is.