This I Believe

Camari - Midway, Utah
Entered on December 14, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks

Writing on Our Foreheads

Imagine this. You walk into the school for the first time. It’s your first year of high school. You are a Freshmen. A “Freshy.” Fresh Meat. As you enter the school, you notice that everyone has big black labels on their foreheads. As you walk to you locker, you pass by a group of pretty, giggly girls. All of their foreheads read “Cheerleader.” Above that it either says “Senior” or “Junior,” maybe one or two “Sophomores,” but definitely not “Freshmen.” They give you the “Who does she think she is?” look as you walk by.

You finally find your locker and get it open. As you are putting up your little girly mirror in your locker, you notice that you have writing on your forehead. As you look harder you realize it says “Freshmen” and then “Loser.” You haven’t made contact with anyone besides those Cheerleaders and you already have a label.

Well, maybe we all don’t really have big black letters on our foreheads that tell us what social group we belong to, but the categorizing is there. Just look around. I see it everyday. At lunch, for example. It is like you come into the lunchroom and before you are allowed to sit down, you have to separate into your social groups. There is a big, burly guy at the door with a fly swatter. His label is “Social Status Enforcer.”

“Okay,” he says, “You , with the glasses, you are a Nerd. The second table to your left. Next! Hmm…latest trends and hairstyle. Okay buddy, you are a Prep. Your table is the one with that table cloth and a vase with fresh flowers in it. Next! Oh, I know just what to do with you Mr. Muscles. Jock table, the one closest to the vending machines.”

If you move from your assigned table and try to socialize with others, they guy comes up and smacks you with the his fly swatter.

“Hey! You! You don’t belong over here. Get back over to the nerdy table buddy.”

Not only did the swat from his swatter sting, so did his words. What if that kid with the glasses just happened to be the star of the football team, or that well dressed kid was the captain of the Science Olympiad Team. You would have never guessed unless you actually got to know him.

I believe that we are what we want to be. Not what other depict us as. No matter our ages or our looks, we are all something inside. We all have our characteristics that make us unique.

My older brothers were never really into dating in high school. They just weren’t interested. There weren’t really an girls they wanted to date and they were more concerned with school and their athletics. All of the girls were very offended that they didn’t want to date them. They tried everything to convince them that they were “good enough” for my brothers, but my brothers just weren’t interested. For one brother this went on for months. Finally, the girls got frustrated and gave up. They decided that if he wasn’t going to ask them out or date them, then none of the other girls would date him, either. They started to spread a rumor that he was gay and that was the reason why he didn’t date any of the girls. Of course it wasn’t true, but it put a label on my brother for the rest of his junior year.

Social statuses can be a bad thing. Especially if they aren’t true or it they hurt peoples feelings. But, they don’t have to be bad. We are going to be labeled and judged no matter what. It is just what we as humans do. We can make sure that we keep our doors open. We all have a group of people that we feel comfortable around, but we don’t want to shut ourselves off from other groups.

I was touched by an experience my friends and I had. During the holidays, we were given an assignment in one of our classes to do a 10 hour service project. Me and a few of my friends decided that we were going to do the “12 Days of Christmas” for three specific girls in our grade that didn’t seem to have many friends. They were on the lower end of the social ladder. We planned and delivered the gifts. They seemed to have a little more spring in their step afterward. One of the girls talked to us about it how someone was giving her gifts and we were good friends with her by the end of the year.

Social Statuses can restrict us from meeting new people. I have judged people and put them in categories. But, as I have gone through middle school and am now experiencing jr. high, I have learned that everyone should be given a chance – no matter age, beliefs, or backgrounds. We shouldn’t be creating walls between ourselves and others. We should be breaking them down, so we can see the people on the other side for who they are