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How I Successfully Ruined Senior Skip Day For Everyone
This is a story I will tell my grand kids someday, when I teach them the importance of standing up for themselves and just generally being themselves, despite what other people think they might or might not be. But I don't have grand kids (yet!), therefore I've decided to share with you a small experience that made me feel a little bit bigger.
It all started when me and my class went to a local game show on a Friday around the beginning of the year, and we tragically lost (in my defense, I did answer everything correctly!). Once inside the bus, during the ride back home, everyone was a bit bummed, but still kind of excited about the whole thing. This is when everyone started suggesting skipping school altogether the following Monday. Which was fine with me, I’m not particularly the most enthusiastic person about school there is. But then, out of the blue, this completely obnoxious boy in my class decided to yell, in front of everybody, in the middle of the bus: “And, you know, Marina, you should skip school too. Don’t be such a buzzkill”. And, of course, everyone laughed. What’s funnier than someone telling a self-righteous, uptight kid to losen up and do something everyone is supossed to do, because she obviously doesn’t think for herself? Nothing.
Out of context, this is completely irrelevant. But keep in mind that I’m the quiet kid who sits in the front and does her homework and studies and actually wants to know s*** and the one no one really gets a chance to get to know, or cares about it, really. Yeah, I’m that girl, to them. I know they think that about me. And when everyone laughed at this kid’s shout-out to me, to the fact that I obviously didn’t belong to the group, that I was a weirdo, an outsider, that I deserved to be called out in order to do something as a part of the class, that I wasn’t as smart and cool and “senior” as them… to me that meant they were agreeing with him. That they, too, thought the same thing about me, except they didn’t even have the courage to show it. Even the people I thought respected me at least a little bit laughed. Even they agreed with him, and, by default, with all that small statement had meant to me.
And then it came to me. I’m not ANY of those things. They didn’t know me. They hadn’t bothered enough to get to know me... therefore, whatever they thought about me was completely irrelevant, and possibly untrue. And so I stood up, motivated more by my inner rage than by the fact that it was the right thing to do, and decided I should talk back. What was the worst thing that could happen?
I quietly stood up, looked at him and said “I was going to skip school, but now that you’ve decided to make it personal, I’m going to school on Monday”.
He kept saying how it was a joke all the way home and tried to blame it on me, trying to make me feel awful and stupid by saying how I couldn’t take even a simple joke as that (because evidently, if I can’t find anything funny about the fact that he had willingly embarrassed me and made me feel completely out of place in front of the whole class... there’s something wrong with me) but I was just so sick of everything, of feeling like I didn’t belong, of being that one person everyone decides to constantly provoke to make themselves feel at least somewhat better about themselves. I barely made eye contact with him, or everyone else, during the time it took the bus to arrive at our school again. I am fully aware of the fact that everyone probably hated me then (and perhaps some of them still do). I got all sorts of looks and I heard people whispering how much of a b**** or a loser I am. I even came across a facebook conversation in which the guy that had yelled at me called me all sorts of names and tried to turn everyone against me. But you know what? I didn’t care much. None of that made me feel bad enough to make up for the amazing feeling I had gotten the moment I finally stood up for myself. It had been completely worth it.. and I wondered why I hadn’t done it earlier. It was MY senior year too, I was over being completely invisible to everyone else, and ready to just let them know I was there too, and I had something to say, things to share, a point to make.
On Monday, only 2 people skipped class. I’ll never forget the sense of satisfaction I had gained that day. It wasn’t anything big, or worth feeling accomplished about. But I had changed something. People had noticed me, and had listened to me. They were all in the school they claimed to love so much... because I had said something. Basically, they were there because of me.
I know I sound like a complete lunatic, but I had my reasons, or so I’d like to think. First, there’s all what that little comment had meant to me, and the fact that, sometimes, if you don’t make people realise how much they can hurt you with just a few, meaningless words, they will continue to do so and that isn’t good for anyone. It’s not just about me, it’s about everyone who had ever felt left out, everyone they would eventually make fun of, for no apparent reason. Standing up and talking back made them realise what they say has consequences, no matter how little, and they should consider them every time they decide to say something that could potentially make someone feel like crap.
But then, there’s my other, slightly less noble reason, which is MY OWN teenage rebellion. Of course, now you might wonder what kind of rebellion is not wanting to skip school. It’s like, the complete opposite, right? Well, it’s not. I mean, everyone in my class was always telling how sick they were of having adults boss them around. But you know what I hate even more than adults bossing me around? Kids bossing me around. Especially kids who don’t really care about me unless they need something from me.
It was one of those moments in my life in which I finally realised I can think for myself, and everyone should respect that. Everyone should respect the fact that I can be whoever I want to be and don’t need to limit myself to the image they have of me. If they think I’m a pushover, that’s OK, but they’re going to have to face the truth someday, because I don’t plan on giving them any reasons to think they are allowed to walk all over me.