This I Believe

Paul - Hudson, Massachusetts
Entered on June 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: equality
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I believe that nobody is created equal. No one should be standardized. In today’s society, everybody is expected to have the same goal: get good grades in high school, create a transcript that that college admission officers like, and get a great job. There is so much pressure to follow a set path. People look down on those who choose to follow a different path and to carve one for themselves, or those who try so hard but don’t succeed. It isn’t fair to them.

Back in 7th grade, I knew this girl that was a fantastic artist. She really liked to read graphic novels with animation in it. She could see a picture and trace it without putting the paper on top of it. She was always doodling in class and drawing in her spare time. At recess we would sit under a tree a talk and she would be drawing. Her drawings weren’t lifelike, but they could have been screen captures from a professional cartoon. Some of them actually were!

I had a lot of classes with her. I sat next to her in math. She would doodle instead of pay attention in class. She was always put in the front of the room. Teachers always seem to think that that can solve all the problems. She was on bad terms with the math teacher because she would get very depressed when the teacher told her to stop drawing, so she would still do badly. She never understood math. The equations and rules never stuck in her mind. She wasn’t meant to be good at math. I believe that she was genetically made to draw, and to be bad at math. She was a nice person.

She was of equal use to the world, but society rejected her. She didn’t do well in the “classes that mattered.” She would get bad grades in MCAS. She had a special education teacher always following her around. Her parents were probably disappointed in her. There are plenty of people like her, maybe their good at only music, or sports, or maybe too many things are going on at home that are traumatizing and distracting. When I see these people struggle, I admit, I used to think less of them. I did well in math and other “important” classes, and I was too young to understand why they couldn’t just do well.

I have grown, and I see now that I do not equal more than anyone else. Everyone is different. I believe that everybody is good at different things and bad at others. People can’t be put together in a group. A huge problem today is standardization. People learn, think, feel, and excel differently. Expecting somebody to be able to learn something at the same pace as someone else is unintelligent. As a student going through this, I feel like the weight of the world on my shoulders. It’s hard to dream of great futures when society chooses one for you, and makes you go silently into the night. I’m only in 9th grade, yet my thoughts are filled with worry. Teenagers have so many things to worry about just because they are teenagers. Then school, teachers and parents are always breathing down our necks. It’s not fair to put that on us, especially those of us who don’t want to have that life, or don’t need to.