Saturday, December 22, 2012

High School Essay on Prejudice

I recently just came upon an old essay I wrote in high school, and I wanted to share it with everyone...

People have always been judgmental of other people. I remember a time when I was only a freshman, and all of the upperclassmen looked down at me. They treated me like a freshman and looked at me like I was inferior. I didn’t really know anyone in the school, other than my sisters. I didn’t buy the expensive clothes like the other girls, and I usually wore my sports clothes to school. I started out as a very reserved and quiet person. People started to talk about the way I talked and acted. They would say that I was boring, and that I didn’t have a life. One thing everybody knew about me was that I have always been a serious tennis player. Tennis has been my life, and I am fully committed to achieving great things in this sport. The other girls didn’t even know me, but they still went and told other people that I was weird and that I wore sweats every day to school.
            I look back at that time, and I wish that there were someone who would have given me a chance. I wish that I didn’t try to change myself to fit to other people’s desires. I wish that there were someone who had tried to get to know me before they prejudged me. This problem still exists in schools and all around the world.
            Prejudice is sometimes difficult to avoid because it is natural by human nature to subconsciously judge a person by the first impression. It bothers me that people are like this. Ever since we were young, we have always been told to “never judge a book by its cover,” but we still do. We usually never even end up reading the book because we convince ourselves beforehand that the book will not be enjoyable. The truth is that the cover doesn’t tell us anything about the book. The cover doesn’t reveal the entire story, or there would be no purpose of the book. The cover is just like any other page of the book. We must read the entire book to fully understand the story.
            Everyone is unique. Our lives are twisted and different from the people around us. We are like the characters in a big story. It usually takes time to actually get to know and understand the characters in this big book of life. There is no possible way that we can know everything about a person before we meet them because a lot of the things people say aren’t true. If we take the time to actually get to know each person as an individual and come to understand him or her, then we may not prejudge as much. By looking for the good in people, we look at them as a person. We look at their integrity, desires, interests, talents, and experiences. We must listen to others. We must let them share their feelings with us, and not be afraid of judgment. This is how we can truly get to know a person, and not by the outfit they wore that day.
            I am now a senior in high school. I have been through the highs and lows on this rollercoaster that we call life. I have worn the pink outfits and the skirts to school, but I have realized that this is not me. I am the tomboy that everyone knows. I love sports, and I find it most comfortable wearing my tennis clothes with sweatpants to school. I am a person who looks far past the outside appearance and behaviors of other people. I choose to be myself, and I choose not to judge others for being themselves.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Make a difference

After tragedy struck Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut this past Friday, I began to remember the days when I was a first grader in elementary school. We all had no idea what was going on. Even though we were in a different district, our school was put in lockdown. It was scary. Our parents came to pick us up from school, and I was very young, so I couldn't quite comprehend what was happening on the news. It was when I turned on the tv that I saw the chaos and panic at Columbine High School. We found out that there had been a shooting; the shooters, students at Columbine.
11 Years later, a young man named Craig Scott visited my high school to discuss his experience of the Columbine High School massacre. His sister, Rachel Joy Scott was one of the first students killed in the school. His best friend, killed in the library right next to him for being African American. Craig shared with us the kind of person his sister, Rachel was. Rachel was someone who was kind, caring, and compassionate. She did not judge, for she had the sensitivity and compassion that many people fail to show these days. Craig shared her code of ethics with us. Rachel states that "I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go." This is the key to helping today's society. People have become far too selfish and have forgotten how to show love towards others. COMPASSION is really the right word; it is a powerful word. A person who is compassionate has the ability to step into someone else's shoes and to feel their pain. Sometimes this is what you have to do to understand people. If everyone were to step back for a moment, and instead of focusing on themselves, lend a helping hand to those in need, the world would be a better place. This may mean going out of your comfort zone, but you have no idea what a difference a small act of kindness can make in someones life. Your act may not mean a lot to you, but it may mean the world to the person you have assisted. This is the word I cannot say enough. COMPASSION. Reach out and learn to understand the complexity of a person. What you see on the outside is not always what they feel inside. Start by showing love, compassion, and understanding to those around you. When you walk down the street, don't walk with your head down. Smile at the strangers around you. I know that when someone smiles at me, even if they are a stranger, it makes me smile. This is just the first step, the first effort, so make it count.

How to Stay Motivated in the Winter

I get asked the question "how do you stay motivated in the winter?" quite often really. I am human, like everyone else, and t...