This I Believe

Michelle - Belleville, New Jersey
Entered on January 6, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: courage
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

When I became a freshman in high school, I was not popular at all. All I really wanted then was to be able to fit in. I was a quiet and shy person who found difficult to make friends. The friends that I had were the ones who, unfortunately, smoked. A part of me was heading into that direction, simply because I wanted to fit in. Luckily, I listened to my gut that told me not to make such a mistake.

My friends and I hung out almost every weekend. My friends did pressure me a few times to try smoking. I would refuse every time they asked me, but I became tempted to try it at one point. My friends and I would have a good time. Hanging out with them even helped me make new friends. I was finally fitting in and becoming somewhat popular. But, I became uncomfortable having to be around that kind of environment every weekend. I began to think of the consequences of continuing being around them. That is when I decided to alienate myself from them.

Suddenly, lots of questions came to my mind, asking me why I would do this to myself. Why do I want to become popular and fit in with these so-called “popular” people that are usually the wrong crowd? If I would have continued to be around them, I know that I would have tried smoking and probably been influenced to try other things. I knew I could not do this to myself. This is why I alienated myself from them. I do not want to be smoking every single day of my life, I want to be healthy and live long to see many miracles happen. I could already imagine that if I was dragged into the habit of smoking, I would most definitely not live long enough to see every wish I made for my future come true. I am done about caring on having so many friends because honestly I know that as soon as I graduate high school, I will most likely never see or talk them again. I did let my friends know that I am not like them, and by telling them that, it made me feel so much better about myself. I began to feel confident and that lead me to find the true person that I was.

I changed into a person that was full of life. I was not as quiet and shy as I used to be. I became more talkative with people, which helped me make friends. I truly loved this person who I was. I was this person all along, but simply had to find myself. I did not have to smoke or do anything to fit in. I only had to be me. That was always the answer, and now I realized it. I believe that I, being myself, helped me win popularity with people.

Now that I am a junior, I focus on continuing to earning good grades and hope to be accepted by a good college. I know now that I do not have to be someone that I am not in order for me to fit in and be popular. Why did I ever have that temptation to smoke when I knew it could kill me? It was all stupidity and brainwashing of wanting to be the “it” girl in school. But I am glad that I now am able to fit in with everyone that accepts the person who I really am.