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My college entrance essay on popularity and individuality
I hate to admit it, but I have always longed to be popular, ever since I was little.  The popular clique has always held a sort of morbid fascination for me; the cool kids wearing their name -brand clothes, doing things I only wish I could do and seeming to speak in another language, the language of cool.  I was definitely not cool.
Since first grade, I have been saddled with glasses ranging in various states of ugliness.  I had contacts for a few months at the beginning of my freshman year of high school, but decided they were too much of a pain.  So I diligently wore my glasses, enduring the snide remarks my peers came up with when I was younger.  My only salvation was that I thankfully didn’t have too wear extra-thick coke
bottle lenses.
Also I didn’t really put too much effort into the clothes I wore, instead opting to let my mom shop for me. Since my mom’s definition of “cool” often differed greatly from mine, I was always getting teased by kids, especially if I wore pants that were too tight or looked too neat.  One particularly nasty girl in eighth grade once commented that I must get my clothes at a thrift shop, for they looked like someone’s throwaways.
To the school bullies, I provided an endless source for teasing, probably due to the fact that they knew that they could usually get a reaction out of me.  Many of my earliest memories revolved around me crying on the playground after having had my feelings hurt by some nasty person who thought that he or she was better than me.
My mother told me just to let their comments roll off me like water, but that was easier said than done.  I had always been a sensitive person; it’s just in my nature.  I did give her advice a try, though, and when that didn’t work, I came sobbing back to her again.
The final nail in my unpopular coffin was my being painfully shy.  One wouldn’t know it by looking at me now, but during my elementary and middle school years I used to be terrified to speak up in class.  Just the thought of getting up in front of a classroom of kids to do a presentation was enough to start me quaking with fear.
By the end of my eighth grade year, I had vowed to become popular.  I would wear only the coolest clothes, hang out with only the coolest people, and become fluent in the secret language of the cool kids.
Things didn’t work out quite the way I planned, though.  I did start dressing trendier; my favorite clothes stores changed from Sears and Target to The Gap, Limited, and Old Navy.  However, becoming popular never really happened.
Instead, the kids I hung out with were not really typecast into any one particular group.  They were extremely individualistic, and by hanging out with them, I became more of an individual myself.  I began not to care as much about what other people thought of me; instead I decided to follow my own instincts.
Over the years, I’ve come to learn that it’s not who you hang out with or what you dress like that determines who you are; it’s what you do.  I believe in being a kind and caring person and helping others.  I love kids and volunteer at my mom’s elementary school whenever I can.  Also, I am a huge animal fanatic, and enjoying helping take care of my furry friends.  These  activities might not be viewed by some of my peers as being cool, doing them makes me happy.
I have since shelved my quest for popularity and decided to begin another quest for self-acceptance and inner peace.  Sure, there are times in which I wish I was thinner, cuter, or had blond hair and a good-looking boyfriend, but then I realize that even if I had all of that, I still might not be happy.
In a world where so many people want to be just like the models they see in magazines, I have chosen to be different.  I am an individual, one who is loved and cared for, and no one is going to tell me anything different.  Uniqueness is what we should really strive for, because it is those who dare to think outside the box and forgo popularity that can truly make a difference in our society.
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