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How to Shine This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Happy, carefree faces lit up our childhood – friends, parents, teachers – but something happened when we hit middle and high school. The kindness was wrenched from some; others gave it away like spare change.

“Welcome to the real world,” they said. What happens in these few, precious teen years will affect us for the rest of our lives, and it seems that this gives everyone permission to knock others down in an attempt to build themselves up. Peers become our competition, our enemies. All the rules are thrown out the window. The world suddenly revolves around only one person: you.

Real friendships are a rarity. Friends used to be anyone who played the same game on the playground. Now, people with common interests are a dime a dozen.

So, I wonder, what happened to us? Yes, I'm talking to you: the high schooler, the jock, the brain, the beauty, the goth, the church kid. We like to pretend these titles don't exist; we pretend we all live in a happy little world, and everyone gets a fair share of everything. These titles don't just label us, they divide us.

These divides are excruciatingly difficult to cross, despite what TV shows and movies claim. We're all suckers for a happy ending – just admit it. If this is true, how come we fight the possibility of a happy ending so much? We don't want to cross the divides. The lines have been clearly drawn, but why?

Why can't we see that at the end of the day, we are all the same? Strip away our social exteriors and we're all identical. We all want to be loved and accepted. We all want a bright future, to shine our own light, not to live in another's shadow.

But what if we decide to share? Instead of trying to outshine others, lend them some of our light so they can shine too. We might just find that, suddenly, the world is much brighter.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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This article has 6 comments. Post your own!

2writeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 5:40 am:
Instead of spreading things like this,: ONCE YOU'VE STARTED READINGTHIS YOU CAN'T GET OUT! READ ON IF YOU DON'T WANT TO DIE A year ago A girl named Kathy was hated by everyone. Everyone made fun of her. She was ignored. Even by messages. One day she decided to kill herself. Beca......use..................... even her parents ignored her. She jumed out her window. No one noticed utill people started dissapearing. Kathy haunted them. She made them suffer like the way she did. S... (more »)
 
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Ojewel said...
Oct. 30, 2013 at 5:44 pm:
This is so true! I feel like I'm put in catagories many times, and more often than not, I feel like I don't fit into any one catagory at all. I do so much stuff and I'm so confusing (to myself and others) that I don't know were I belong. This is something that all High Schoolers (and middle schoolers too) should read.
 
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Lauradora said...
Oct. 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm:
I agree with so much, this needs to be fowarded to everyone at every middle/high school
 
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ilovewriting95This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 27, 2011 at 8:12 pm:
I totally agree with you. It's sad that people act thatway towards each other. This oesn't really happen at my high school but thats for sure how middle school was. Great job! :D
 
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Fifteen_Roses This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 3, 2011 at 1:29 pm:
Someone finally put to words to my frustration. Thank you. I hope you realized that everyone who reads this is given a bit of your "shine".
 
buzzlikebea This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 6, 2011 at 6:36 am :
Thanks a lot.  To be honest I didn't even realize people were reading this, but I'm glad you can agree with it.  High school sucks, but it really shouldn't have to.
 
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