This I Believe

Joseph - Mesa, Arizona
Entered on May 8, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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In my years at school, I have played football, performed with the orchestra, and taken my fair share of heavy classes, but for me, making friends has been the most rewarding part of my education. What has always fascinated me though, is that the friends I made on the football team rarely knew any of my orchestra friends, and most of my friends in chemistry didn’t know my football friends. I always wondered why so many great people had never met each other.

One day during lunch, I walked past a table and saw group of friends, and realized that they had been sitting at that exact same table for the entire school year with the exact same people. I wondered why, but reasoned that it was probably more out of habit than anything, and that they just sat at the same table because it was familiar and comfortable. Why try something else that might not turn out so well? If I hadn’t moved twice and attended two junior highs, I might have sat at the same table every day too, but I didn’t choose that option. It wasn’t easy, but it was up to me to make new friends, and to get comfortable. Through this, I learned that even though people’s interests vary, and although their appearances and personalities are different, they are all worth getting to know.

My attitude has generally reflected Dickens’ observation that “every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other,” and that people are like “those darkly clustered houses,” each with their own light, their own secret in every room. I believe that beneath the surface, despite our many differences in hobbies, appearances, and personalities, we are all human. I believe that rather than treating others as football players or band geeks, we should look a little deeper, so that we can find the common humanity that waits beneath those outward appearances.