Bunlay - Arlington, Virginia
Entered on June 12, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: tolerance

“There is nothing worse than being ordinary”; a quote by Kevin Spacey’s character in American Beauty, holds true to an essential belief of mine. Society would have never evolved to what it is today if it were not for the people who demonstrated individualism. Throughout our years of history class we learned of all the important figures that changed or shaped the world. What we should realize is that those people didn’t become historically famous because they conformed to society, but rather by going against the grain and being themselves, even if they were scolded or looked down upon for it. Individualism is important because it influences change, and change is what keeps a society going, usually for the better.

There was an old friend I had back in elementary school and he was an oddball. I didn’t realize it back then but I truly did admire him. The fact that I remember him so clearly compared to the rest of the children in my class is proof to me that those who stick out and be themselves are the ones that make a difference with the people around them. His name was Peter and he was quite the individual. He did things other students did not, such as speaking out against the teacher when he thought things weren’t fair, and sometimes the teacher even compromised. He enjoyed unique hobbies, despite receiving criticism from his classmates, such as collecting dried glue. Peter could be referred to as an outcast, but that didn’t matter to him. I look back at my elementary school days and I don’t remember many events or people, but Peter and his personality stick out to me.

Today I realize that Peter made a difference and was someone who wouldn’t change himself to fit in while almost everyone else was plain and just a distant memory. That is what I believe is wrong with conforming: you don’t leave your mark on other people, you may become just another face in the crowd. Peter taught me that you should be yourself, be an individual, rather become someone that you aren’t so you can be normal and feel accepted. Although it is not possible for everyone to be different and a world were everyone opted to be different would not be ideal, I believe we should just keep an open mind and stick with our beliefs, but not to the point that we believe we are overdoing it.