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I Overcame My Preconceived Notions

Joined: 5/29/2011
Posts: 1
Standing in the middle of a crowded room, I have never felt so alone.

Hanging over the calculators and pencils strewn across my desk is a list. On crinkly paper there are two star bullet points and pink cursive writing that reads:

 make awesome friends
 become elected student body president

I had written those words so long ago, it came back only as a distant memory from another life. It was the time of bubblegum nail polish and bright eyes that held unfailingly to the belief that I would accomplish those things. High school was some magical place where I would be popular and loved. It was supposed to be the place where I would shine the brightest. It was supposed to be the peak of my life.

But I now stand alone in the middle of the cafeteria, clutching my brown bag lunch. The bubblegum nail polish has long been replaced by a glossy black polish. My weary eyes glance from table to table, looking for just one friendly face. There are so many people in here. So many loud voices. And laughter. Are they laughing at me? I am a senior. I’m not supposed to be the one who is scared!

I had run three times for Student Body President and lost each time. It soon became almost impossible for me to hold a normal conversation because I felt fake. All I seemed to want was for someone to like me. Yet I kept feeling like no one did. So I retreated and learned to run away from social situations. My friends did not know what to do and soon, my cell phone stopped ringing.

Somehow I had become detached from it all. I had become the girl that walks alone to classes and barely speaks. My Friday nights consist of watching re-runs and hiding behind novels. These last few years I have become lost in the tide and I am still struggling for air.

Standing in the middle of a crowded room, I have never felt so alone.

As I brushed away the tears, it finally dawned upon me that I was becoming stronger and wiser through the very experiences I hated the most. If high school was all butterflies and rainbows, I would never have learned modesty and gratitude. And most importantly that respect must be earned, not expected.

There is something beautiful about feeling alone in a crowded room as I did in that moment. The fear and loneliness forced me to have courage.

I closed my eyes for a moment and everything slowed down. The voices faded away and my mind became clear. "Michelle, you can do it. Don’t give up on your dreams, on your list. High school might not be what you thought it would be, but if you have courage, it might turn out even better." I took a deep breath. Yes, it would be even better.

“Hey, do you mind if I sit with you guys?”

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Comment by mcoly618

Joined: 5/2/2009
Posts: 472
Hi, I'm the PR Coordinator for Stage of Life. I'm leaving you this comment to let you know that your essay for our Teens and Overcoming Challenges writing contest was one of the finalists. Congratulations!

Here's the link to the contest summary page. We'll be formally announcing the winner soon.

Feel free to share this news with your friends and family. To be named an essay finalists in our national writing competition is a big deal. Our previous winners have been talked about on and other media outlets.

Congrats again. We look forward to seeing more of your essays/writing on Thanks for helping us in our mission of creating the world's largest pool of cross-generational stories.
Posted: Monday, June 6, 2011 6:54:12 PM
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