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Express Your True Self

By Shicheng "David" Dong, Grade 12
We are born with different genetics. We are born with various characteristics and qualities. Each one of us, not only humans, but all living creatures on this planet, are unique by themselves. However, just like other social animals, we tend to imitate behaviour from people surrounding us.
In old centuries of China, men braided their hair. In old centuries of Europe, men wore skirts. Even more traditionally, people believed that the Earth is flat. People living in these regions at certain periods were restricted by certain rules. Anyone opposing or disobeying the rules would be sentenced to death.
Nowadays it is common to see a huge variety of clothing worn by men and women. You can even see men braiding their hair or wearing skirts. Why? Because the world is changing. People developed new ideas to replace the old ones. But does that mean these old traditions were eradicated? No, because we live in a world of freedom. People have the right to decide what they want to wear or how they think.  
When I first came to Stanstead College, I felt strange in this unfamiliar environment. I wanted to avoid attention from others. One way to do so was to copy what others do, following others’ preferences for snacks, clothing, even music. Whenever teachers asked an open question in class, I always responded with the same idea as other students.
Did it make my life easier? Yes, it did. However, it exhausted me. It forced me to act the same way as others. I was afraid that if I did something different, I would be treated as a “weirdo,” that I would probably lose my friends. It also kept me from knowing who I actually was.
Back in the day, I was always excited for specific days when the whole school would be encouraged to wear some “crazy” clothing. I’d be glad to wear my own style of clothing without being looked at as some guy with odd mentality. Later, I realized that my strategy for life was a failure. So I tried to make some changes, make things surrounding me more like David’s style.
And it turns out that the world wasn’t as bad as I thought. My friends are still my friends, sometimes they make fun of some of my behaviour, but overall it’s nothing but jokes.
Stanstead College is a place full of cultural diversity. Not only Stanstead College but the world is becoming more culturally diversified. People are encouraged to fully express themselves publicly. Being yourself is never an embarrassing thing, it should be something that makes you proud, because many people are not capable of doing that. People don’t actually care what you do, and even if there are some comments behind the scenes, not caring what others think of you is what makes you stronger.