This I Believe

Kaitlin - Lafayette, California
Entered on December 6, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Look Deeper

As I pass through the halls of my high school, I constantly cross paths with all different types of people. There is the girl who stares at the ground in fear of being noticed, the boy who subtly bobs his head in sync with the tunes of his i-pod, the group of girls with laughs that can be heard from across the campus, yet my external observations are my only forms of insight into their lives. I often ponder the fact that I spend six hours a day, five days a week, thirty-six weeks a year with these people, and I do not even truly know the majority of them. I believe that beneath their exteriors there are unique human spirits with beauty to share and problems to face, and I believe that with a little bit of courage, we can and should try to understand the faces that surround us.

My awareness that as the cliché states, “there is more than what meets the eye” about people came about towards the end of my sophomore year. I was told that one student whom attends one of my classes each day graced with an indescribable smile, goes home only to deal with a sibling suffering from cancer. My first reactions consisted of absolute shock. How could someone dealing with such a tragedy maintain such an enthusiastic front? This bit of insight caused me to evaluate my surroundings. There are so many people that pass by me each day, yet in most cases my relationships do not go much deeper than a quick “hey” or brief smile.

I believe understanding one another on a deeper level helps us better understand the world we live in. When sharing unique beliefs, family traditions, life fears, favorite foods, or hidden talents, we connect with one another on a whole new level and become more complete human beings as a result. As individuals, we gain from understanding the many different types of people in this world rather than remaining in our comfort zones of similar personalities. As I realize that my high school years are quickly dissolving, I am now trying to fulfill this mission. It is tough and courage is definitely a necessary fuel, yet I am now grasping the idea that there are still many hallway faces in need of further exploration.

Adults always tell me, “Savor high school. It is the best four years of your life.” I believe that the only way to appreciate my high school experience is to look deeper and truly get to know all of the different people who I have the privilege of being with from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. We are all composed of layers which must be peeled away to understand not only one another, but also ourselves. This I believe.