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In my life, I have tired my hardest to make those around me accept me. I have attempted to make friends not by being myself , but by being who I believed they wanted me to be. It took me a long time to realize that just by being myself, my life much would be much easier and others accept me just the same, or even more.
I stepped into the room and a sense of not belonging immediately came over me. It was my fist year in the I.G.C. (The Intelligently Gifted Childrens program) at Public School 107, Queens. I was in the fifth grade, but the rest of the children had been in the program since the first year it started, the fourth grade. As you could imagine, the groups were already established. This was the defining line of me being the different one, and them being the cool ones.
Through the year, I dealt with being ridiculed by my fellow students, especially a girl whose name was Janelle. She was a pretty little rich white girl who felt that she was the head of them all. As I would sit at my desk, Id hear the whispering and quiet giggling, while feeling the cold stares seep through every part of my body. She would tell all the other kids how ugly I was and how stupid I was. I guess she got a kick out of making me feel below everyone and making me feel stupid.
The year went on and the constant teases began to drive me nuts. I would try to do anything to keep them from making fun of me. I once even used the excuse of my Great-Grandmother passing away, so that they would stop teasing me for one day. But then I started to believe them, becoming more and more stressed and unable to maintain my good grades.
The stress that these teases and taunts caused me, made me sick. See, when I get stressed my defenses go down and I get very, very sick. I was unable to attend school for a few weeks, and my work began to suffer. Being in the I.G.C. became more difficult, and less of an option. It turned out that for the sixth grade I had to be put back in regular classes. I felt even dumber than before.
In the sixth grade, I wanted to have a better year and to fit in. Yet, the fear of not being accepted by my peers still haunted me. I didnt want to be the nerd, so I didnt let anyone know how smart I really was. I was late with all my work and I would only do well on tests. That caused my teacher to tell my parents I was lazy. My parents of course, were angry and wouldnt allow me to go over my friends houses any longer. I had to stay home and do my home work, and study as much as I could. This was especially upsetting to me being that at the end of the year I was moving to Brentwood, Long Island and I probably wouldnt be able to see my most of my friends ever again.
Then the move finally came and I had to start at a new school. A new school meant new people and a new atmosphere. My parents had told me that I had to do my best or else Id be punished. Being in this new school also made me care less about what others thought of me. I didnt even want to be friends with any of the kids from my new school. I missed my old neighborhood and my old friends. Thus my attitude, being one of not caring, allowed me to do my best and my hardest.
As the year went on my hard work paid off, and I became one of the best students in my classes. Being myself and not worrying of what others thought, I started to meet more and more students and kept making more and more friends. I joined the cheerleading team and as many other clubs as I could. I had done so well in school that I was accepted into the honors program which started in the eighth grade. I was going to be in the program from the first year it started. It was a fresh start with no groups or cliques. My parents had also been especially happy knowing I was now in the honors program.
I began to realize that I was gaining my friends by being myself. This was a new and brave way of thinking had made me happier than I had ever been before. I didnt have to try anymore, and everything had worked out better than ever. I remained in the honors program all the way through High School, and graduated with a Scientific and Mathematic Endorsement Diploma. I learned that being myself is what made me the happiest and that I never had to work at making friends ever again
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