Struggling with Yourself

March 24, 2011
By Nyjmets524 SILVER, Roslyn Heights, New York
Nyjmets524 SILVER, Roslyn Heights, New York
9 articles 0 photos 3 comments

From an early age, we’re taught what to do in tough situations. The lessons, such as never getting in cars with strangers, are timeless and never get old. But when a situation actually happens, it is a great deal tougher to apply the knowledge that has been so thoroughly taught. The worst part is, though, that most of these situations occur in high school, where teenagers are faced with what is right, and what they feel is best to do.

Recently, I’ve had to deal with some personal issues that have made me come to a realization. The information that was confided in me by a friend made me struggle. It made me understand that there is a difference between doing what you think is right and doing what is right. Yet most of the time, many people choose what they think is right, based on what is best for them.

Unfortunately, this occurs way too often. Teenagers do not always choose the right thing. There are too many instances where information confided in a person stays confided, when it should be told to a person in a better position to help. And as much as it frightens me to say this, it is true.

Admittedly, I have never been as pushed to limits as when I was told this information. Never before has it come to my attention that people that I am friends and acquaintances with perhaps do not live as cheery lives as I do. I have wrestled with the idea that being nice and friendly implies that you attract people with cloudy dispositions to share information with you, as you could be the friendly, comforting source that they need in their lives.

The recent suicide of a homosexual student at Rutgers University is a great example of how terrible things can become when confidential information becomes public. Tyler Clementi, the student who committed suicide, asked for the dorm room to himself for a few hours, and his roommate set up a live feed, broadcasting Clementi with his partner in the dorm room. Clementi, who disclosed that he was homosexual to his roommate, perhaps did not realize the burden that was put on his roommate. It is feasible that the roommate was not sure what to make of the information. Possibly, the roommate was embarrassed that he was sharing a room with a homosexual, or maybe he was not comfortable with the idea. He obviously did not think clearly when he set up a live video feed, but that just shows how these burdens can heavily affect the decision making of certain people. The trivial information that Clementi exposed about him ended up being a big deal to his roommate, who did not act rationally to the information he was exposed to.

Based on personal experiences and stories in the news about other similar situations, I believe that, for the most part, the way a person reacts to information or a situation is based on the socially accepted response to the situation. How Clementi’s roommate responded was accepted, as other college students took pleasure from making fun of Clementi. Due to this, the roommate believed it was okay to do what he did. And it does not just relate to this situation. I felt obliged to tell someone that was more capable of dealing with my problem. It is just too hard to be in over your head and expect to swim. My friend, who the problem dealt with, was too close to me for me to not do anything. It is not just that, but I also cared about the person as well. I felt obliged to tell someone who could do something, since I felt powerless.

Socially, some actions are just generally accepted. These expectations are different for different groups of people (teenagers accept underage drinking more than adults do), but they are still strong enough for people to base decisions off of. The idea that your actions define you is not very far-fetched. Debatably, these expectations are some of the most powerful forces out there. Unless a person’s morals are more powerful than these social expectations, a person will try to live up to the expectations nine times out of ten.
High school is a time of finding oneself and becoming who you will be. Decision making is an ample part of the process, and should not be taken lightly. But do not fret; the lessons that you have learned do come to use. But only after your priorities are set straight. Which will you choose: the right, or yourself?

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