Great Expectations

Katie - Signal Mountain, Tennessee
Entered on January 11, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I’ve always hated my elementary school days. Not just because of how dorky I used to look, but also because of how “clique-y” the kids were. So in order to help myself ignore them, I thought to myself, “If that girl’s mean to me, then why should I be nice to her?” It didn’t work out as well as I had hoped, because I ended up creating more enemies than friends. As I look back on those horrendous days, I hate to admit that sometimes, I didn’t want to be friends with a girl because she “didn’t look good” or because she “wasn’t smart.” In these cases, I wasn’t willing to look past the kids’ differences and get to know who they really were. Instead, I chose to judge them based upon their appearance, their knowledge, and their actions.

Upon entering 10th grade, I was put into a rather colorful art class. The students were loud, obnoxious, and probably the most girly-girls I have ever met. I could tolerate them – well, all but one. The girl talked constantly, complained about every art project we were given, tried to avoid doing her work, and argued with the teacher. I had never spoken a single word to her, and I wanted to keep it that way. One day though, all the seats were taken except for one. And it just-so-happened that the girl I disliked the most came in late, so she sat down and started chatting me up. She asked me simple questions as if she wanted to get to know me better. As the year progressed and I talked to her and the other people in my art class more, I found them to be surprisingly hilarious. They liked sitting by me, and I liked sitting by them. They included me in their never-ending conversations about their social lives, and I listened and laughed as I worked. But when art class was over for the semester, I actually felt kind of sad that I wouldn’t be sharing a class with them anymore, which I never thought I’d be.

Ever since that day in art class, I have learned to believe that if I have a positive outlook on people and look past their mistakes or their appearances, then I could learn to accept them for who they were. They may be overly obnoxious or a tad bit quiet, but either way, I try to find the best in them. Sometimes I wonder if they miss sharing a class with “the really quiet Asian girl.” I know I certainly miss sharing one with them.