Tight Pants and an Open Mind

Zander - Denver, Colorado
Entered on October 15, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: tolerance

I started a new school at the beginning of my freshman year in high school. I came from a laid back public school with a focus on the arts into a strictly run private school with nationally known academics and excellent sports programs. The academics are what I came for, considering my last school was less than challenging for me. However, I was use to kids sitting in the halls sketching or playing drums, not talking about US opens and carrying lacrosse sticks. Then came the problem of dress code. In middle school I was encouraged to dress as freely as I wanted and express my individuality. So as a kid who wears tight jeans and tee shirts on a daily basis I had a hard time fitting in, to say the least.

I believe in giving people a chance. I believe that there is no point in basing an opinion on someone solely on their looks. I once thought that other people shared this belief. The first day I wore tight black jeans and a grungy polo shirt, scarcely conforming to the dress code, I found out I was wrong. I walked down the hall hearing “gay” and “emo” and shouts of “hey, how long does it take you to squeeze into those girl’s jeans?” To be honest I was in disbelief. I wasn’t judging any of these kids, I wasn’t shouting “why do you all look the same?” or, “do they teach you to think for yourself at this school?”

This really made me think, “was I wrong to not judge someone before I met them? Is this how the entire world works?” The first few weeks at school made me really challenge my beliefs. I didn’t know what to think. I wanted to fit in, but that would have meant going against what I had been taught and lived by for my entire life. Naturally as the year progressed I met more and more people and started to be pretty well accepted. I wondered why it took me actually sitting down and talking with people for them to realize I am a regular kid, just with a different style. Although I still couldn’t figure out why they had these negative perceptions of me before they even heard a word of what I had to say.

I believe what I believe for a reason. Your beliefs are obviously influenced by other people but I will never judge someone based on the way they present themselves. At first I felt my belief was challenged by this event, but later I came to realize it only made it stronger.