Bursting the Conformist Bubble
For almost five years I attempted to fit in by conforming at school. The administrators had convinced students that being different was unacceptable, success was obtained with strict step-by-step instructions and, most importantly, with a tremendous amount of money. I had tried to fit in by buying expensive clothing and joining sports teams, but the burden of pretending I was happy made me realize that I would never be successful where individuality was an undesirable characteristic. I needed to be in a community that allowed me to be the author of my own future. Once I finally realized that, I popped the conformist bubble that surrounded me for many years.
I made the difficult decision to transfer in the middle of the academic year from a small private school to a large and diverse public school. Although I was scared of what this decision might bring, resiliency and an open mind were bound to help me prosper.
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During the first week at my new school, I was cast as the lead in the musical and joined several clubs. For the first time in almost five years, I wasn’t afraid of being myself. Still, I cannot deny the splatter effect of the bubble. When a person bursts the bubble of expectations, life can get a little sticky. I was not accustomed to the slang that my classmates used, or to the behavior that definitely would have been considered undesirable at my old school. However, I soon recognized that these were just different ways people chose to express themselves. Finally in an environment where different backgrounds and opinions were encouraged rather than looked down upon, I embraced the opportunity to succeed by being myself.
The fear of change causes many people to fail because they feel too frightened to capitalize on chances. The ability to welcome and accept change helped me discover endless possibilities in the world that were waiting at my fingertips but that I could not yet see. With time, I began to take advantage of these opportunities, regardless of the challenges. This determination – bordering on stubbornness – is a quality I cherish most because it grants me the strength to overcome obstacles.
Although I still vividly recall the pain I felt from middle school until the middle of ninth grade, I don’t regret those years. I am not mad at anyone or anything that tested me during this time; I am proud of myself for always trying, even when failure seemed inevitable. The years I spent eating lunch in the bathroom and coming home from school crying have passed but will never be forgotten; remembering these hardships reinvigorates my courage to persevere.
Inclined to strengthen my open-mindedness and determination for success on a global scale, I studied abroad in Beijing, China, this past summer. I now use this experience to help other teenagers escape their ethnocentric ideas by talking to students enrolled in Chinese language classes. Before gaining the strength to pop the bubble of conformity, I felt uninspired to make a difference in the world because I was unaware that diversity and open-mindedness invite success. However, the power to act as the architect of my future destroyed this fear and allowed me to thrive through hard work, determination, and perseverance.