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Wrestling Cretaceous

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I believe that every single person's life can be summed up with those two words.

The Cretaceous was a period of time that began with a plethora of dinosaurs roaming the land amid few mammals, and ended with the dinosaurs extinct in a land rich with mammals.

By juxtaposing the Cretaceous with my own life, I immediately recognized a direct relationship. I had endured a personal passage through a present-day Cretaceous: the journey from adolescence to maturity. This unique new perspective of the contrasts and similarities of worlds apart was otherworldly.

As with most, I grew up feeling out of place because I stood apart from my peers; being different is immediately accentuated by others’ condemnation and mockery. As Aldous Huxley so poignantly puts it in his novel Brave New World, "If one's different, one's bound to be lonely." I enjoyed learning and my dedication to school thus earned me a place in the ridicule hall of fame. My internal struggle to be accepted then led to the disappearance of my identity.

First, I was the Cretaceous mammals—afraid and alone—then, the dinosaurs—dead and gone—until, eventually, I found a world that I belonged in. After wrestling with the vicissitudes of being a teenager, I found that I survived the Cretaceous.

The struggle to belong, the battle between staying genuine and blending in, and the crusade against the uncommon are all too real hurdles in our lives. The quotidian nature of this obstacle makes it all the more challenging to us.

Yet, we must realize that the only similarity between our entire population is that *we are all different*. “You are unique, just like everyone else.” It is a terrible oxymoron. However, it is in this way that everyone wrestles the Cretaceous. And it is exactly in this way that one might be able to minimize the pressure of growing up to everyone’s expectations and recognize that being different is not bad at all; it is inevitable.

More importantly, it is the only thing that links us all together.

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