Choosing My Path

Stephanie - Austin, Texas
Entered on May 15, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe that you should stay true to yourself when making decisions and not just “go with the crowd”. I remember when I began middle school. It seemed so huge, and everyone there looked so much more grown up than myself. I knew that first day that I was not like most of the kids who had lots of money, wore Abercrombie & Fitch everyday, and carried around genuine Coach purses. I guess I fell into the trap of peer pressure and wanting to belong. One memory that still comes up fresh in my mind was during seventh and eighth grade when I had chosen to “help” my friend in Spanish class. Actually, I can recall helping numerous people in Spanish class, during both years of middle school. I feel the most ashamed of helping my friend on nearly all of our tests. I would whisper the answers and place my answer sheet so she could see behind me, and even drew a few of them in the air for her. I regret this so much because I was never caught, and my friend never truly appreciated what I was doing. Well, now that I think about it, I wasn’t really helping her at doing her work at all. I think I was only encouraging her not to do her work and not to do well on her tests. During those two years, I definitely felt the pressure of being used for academics, since I wasn’t one to be very “noticed” or “popular”. And to top things off, it seemed like every time I tried to fit in, I was never noticed by the kids who thought they didn’t have much. But actually, they had many things that no one from my previous elementary school could afford. All they could think about were themselves and how much money they earned for failing their classes.

Today, I know better than to just follow behind everyone else. I know that I can choose my own path and let it lead me to where I want it to. I believe that if you become “just another fish in the sea,” you are going to regret the paths you missed and did not take. I have learned about regretting your decisions from two years of lying. I wish I could tell the teachers that my friend and I had been partners in crime, but it is slightly too late for that. So, I say just trust yourself! Trust the decisions you make because you can only make them once.