Middle School

November 7, 2007
Middle School has taught me a lot of things; it has taught me English, Social Studies, Science. Most important of all, however, it has taught me about life in on a savannah where the lions are. These lions aren’t as friendly as Simba from The Lion King though.
Through all of the pamphlets, papers, and advice I got as a 10-year-old going into middle school, there was nothing to prepare me for what I would meet. I was too innocent to deal with middle school girls. I was a cub that had been thrown into the den where I would have to adapt and grow up fast if I wanted to survive the savannah.
So as a cub trying to find my way around, hoping my locker will open, trying to make it to class on time, they pass by. You know who they are. The cool kids. Huddled in a group with their fancy bags and clothing, knowing exactly where their going (or at least they look like they do) automatically I envy them. I want to be like them. I want to be cool.
Although it would be nice to say I don’t really care about being a part of a group, it would be a lie. Whenever I would watch T.V. or maybe pick up The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants from my video store I would watch and say, “That’s what I want. I want to have a group of friends like that.” I don’t know any girl who doesn’t feel that way. Nobody, particularly in middle school, wants to be alone. We all want a group of friends. We all want to be popular.
But at what price?

Fitting in. Being popular. Being cool. What does it all mean? Oxford Dictionary defines cool as:
fashionably attractive or impressive : I always wore sunglasses to look cool.
It defines popular as:
liked, admired, or enjoyed by many people or by a particular person or group :
I don’t think that can sum up cool or popular. Sometimes (most times) the populars aren’t always liked and sometimes juicy isn’t the most “fashionable attractive” thing. Middle School gives these two words new and more negative meanings.

I wish people wouldn’t be so concerned about fitting in, and the need to be perfect. From that sentence, I have just established myself as a typical middle-school girl. Ask any girl, even those who are older than me in high school, college, or older, and you’ll get the same answer. I think there is a battle in every girl, popular or not, richer or not as rich, between fitting in and the need to be perfect. Some girls spend their whole middle school and high school lives trying to fit in. Others take the other extreme and try to do everything un-cool to defy everybody else. I think that when you try to fit it you lose yourself in the process. When girls try to fit in they are chasing a mirage, which they will never be able to catch. If you try to fit in and be cool you will never fit in because to fit in means fitting into yourself, not other people.

Two years later I have grown from a 6th grade cub to a 8th grade lioness. I have learned my way around the savannah. Although I don’t rule I know my place. As long as I stay where I am and let the populars, the cool people, do their thing, I can survive in peace. Maybe, just maybe, I don’t have to be cool.

Although I would not be lying if I said I wanted to be a part of a group, one thing I would be lying about is that fitting in with the cool kids is not as important to me as it is to most other people. Fitting in with the cool kids would only give me the stress and pressure of trying to be perfect. I’m in honors classes, I dance, I’m a part of many different clubs at school; I don’t need any added stress or pressure.

As I said middle school has taught me a lot of things. I think the biggest lesson I will take to high school and, for life is that it is much better when dealing with the cool kids to just stay out of the way and be cool with my own friends who like me for the reason most cool kids wouldn’t. I don’t need designer bags; I don’t want “juicy” clothing. I don’t need to be popular.
I can thank you cool kids for one thing though, showing myself who I am. If I never tried to be cool, if I never went through 6th grade chasing a mirage, then I would never know who I an and be as strong as I am to see through them today. I had to learn as a cub how to hunt before I could go off and forget about fitting in with the popular pride. In order to find who you are, you have to find who your not. I know what I’m not. I’m not cool. I’m me. I’ll take my $10 bag from Target and some real friends and I’ll show those cool kids how cool this lioness can be. One of my favorite songs from Wicked is the song “Popular”. Well, sorry Glinda, but you don’t need to teach me all about popular.

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