Kyle Smith ‘16 – Some people wouldn’t believe it if they heard that “Individual” is into video games and sports, yet still has time for band. Being a part of different groups seems taboo, almost like it’s wrong to sit at more than one lunch table.

But maybe there is a lesson to be learned from setting free your inner social butterfly: that fitting in isn’t as hard – or important – as we think it is in high-school.

He’d be the first to tell you that he’s ranked Platinum II in League of Legends. So you won’t find his computer in the closet. Video games are not his guilty pleasure. “Individual” is on the drum-line by day and a math tutor by night. There’s no reason for him to be ashamed of staying true to himself. The drum-line is a family to him, where he moves to the sound of his own beat.

Don’t like it? Fine.

According to www.stageoflife.com, a survey done in March of 2013 shows that 40% of teens are afraid of peer pressure or not fitting in with people at school.

It doesn’t matter to him what others think though. Whether it’s a Michigan State hoodie or a Guns N’ Roses shirt, what he wears gives free insight to himself, and they can take it or leave it. Putting himself out there makes finding like-minded people easier. It’s advertising.

Those who are shallow enough to judge a book by its cover aren’t worth his time. However, the ones that flip a few pages might like what they find. Even if they don’t, at least they read anything at all.

The point is, that this high school exists in its own little world. After you leave, you’ll only stay in touch with the people you want to stay in touch with.

Colleges will be looking at ACT scores and GPAs, maybe how involved you were here, but not what cliques you clicked with. All the drama and all the gossip will fall to the wayside out in the real world. Nobody will care anymore about who was on Homecoming Court. Nobody will care about who dated who.

These four years are about figuring out who you really are. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; grow from them, that’s part of the process. Take classes or join clubs you haven’t considered before and broaden your horizons. Learn to separate real friends from acquaintances. Quit worrying about what other people think is “cool”.

What’s cool is being you.
Sometimes finding yourself takes reinventing. Burning what you are now to ashes, and then going by your own standards in order to rise as the phoenix you were meant to be. Other times you’re on the right path already, and only have to transcend who you are now, metamorphosing into your true form. A bright, beautiful social butterfly.

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