In the 21st century, many teens are very sensitive about the trends, fashions, and most importantly, how they look to others. Conformity can be seen as a big issue which everybody is trying to fit into a “set standard” so that they are not isolated from the rest of the group. However, this not only leads to turning oneself into a whole new person but also letting others “control” the way one dresses, speaks, or behaves.
Most of the time, teens feel insecure about not being able to fit in because they don’t want to be left out and become a loner. Keeping up with a trend may cause one to lack self esteem. People are too busy trying to look like a celebrity, act like a person everybody likes; faking their emotions. This hides the true identity of oneself and the person is made by society, often enslaved by others. If students cannot express their thoughts and feelings, the society will turn its back on the students.
To survive in the harsh reality of the world that exists beyond school walls, students should become true to who they are as a person. Allen Lee, a high school student comments, “I was and still am afraid of expressing myself a 100% because I fear that people might judge me for whatever I do. I feel like we humans are trapped inside the word ‘society’ and cannot get out of it.” Lee stressed that teens are caught in social pressures.
Julie Cho, a college student shares her past experience: “I used to be very careful in how I look in other people’s eyes because I wasn’t confident within myself. Now looking back, I realized how silly of me it was because the most important thing is loving yourself as who you are.” Her experience once again emphasized that people are held back by society’s standards that they are losing the true meaning of individuality.
According to Google, individuality is the quality or character of a particular person or thing that distinguishes them from others of the same kind, especially when strongly marked. One aspect that many don’t realize is that it is most important to encourage and love themselves. Yet, the extreme desire to be perfect in others’ eyes causes people to be more critical of themselves. In fact, people are sculturing themselves to be flawless.
All in all, it is crucial that we stick to our true selves and be unique to distinguish from others. It is not necessary to fit in because no one else was meant to be like someone else.
Minju Cho, Grade 12
West Ranch High School