Monday, December 14, 2015

Be Yourself

In our society, there is a lot of pressure to fit in with everyone. At New Trier, for example, almost everyone dresses and talks the same everyone else. Although we are told a lot of the times to “Be creative” and “express yourself”, the images put forth by society are the exact opposite. If you want to fit in, you must be the same as everyone else. Many people spend their lives trying to live the same way as everyone else, but this is not really the best way to live.
While I was in my basement the other day, looking for an old soccer ball to use, I came across a pile of old posters. The top one was a thirty-six by thirty-two drawing of nine people, and a quote underneath. Eight out of the nine figures are all wearing the same black clothes, standing in the same position. On the left side, there is one figure doing something completely different. He is wearing a different style of clothes, in a different color, and standing in a different position. The quote underneath them reads, “To believe your own thought--that is genius...” It was written by a thinker by the name of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who had a lot of ideas about self-reliance and not conforming to society. I put the picture on the wall, and thought about Emerson’s quote. Everyone is doing the same thing in the picture, except the guy on the left. He is the only one not conforming to the rules of society. In today’s world, people may find that a weird, or just not normal. When someone does something different from typical behavior, most people hear about it and discuss how the person was crazy, or just a little strange. A good example of this is Chris McCandless, a man who left society to adventure in the wild. In a book about his exploits, we are shown multiple letters saying how McCandless is not a good example for other people, and was unprepared and dumb.  Yet Emerson, the man who wrote the quote, might say that McCandless was “genius” to break away from society, and do his own thing.
This is similar to the conversation about conforming we had in English class. At our own school, everyone conforms to things that we just find normal, such as pink shorts or Ugg boots. Because everyone is doing those things, an individual is just transformed into part of a bigger group. This might be considered good for some people; they get to blend in, be a part of a group of people, and not have to think about how they are. But this is not good for people like Emerson, and nonconformists everywhere, who want to do their own thing, and live a life free from the confines of society.


  1. I agree, I think that if everyone would be themselves, it would make high school more enjoyable for all of us

  2. Grant, I like your thoughts here in general -- but that's just it: they stay rather general. The only text you cite is the quote on a poster. It'd be nice to link that to an issue in a larger text. Can society function without some degree of conformity? Where are we to draw those lines?