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The School Newspaper of Texas High School

Tiger Times

The School Newspaper of Texas High School

Tiger Times


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Struggle to fit in


I looked in the mirror and winced. The new outfit, bought entirely from Hollister, wasn’t working the same magic on me as it did on the other kids at school. I closed my eyes tight, pursed my lips, and prayed that when I opened my eyes, my idea of beauty would be staring back. I looked in the mirror a second time. No change.

Movies have always portrayed popularity as someone’s outward appearance, not how someone acts. We are all fed images of size 0 heroines who always seem to have the perfect clothes. All of the popular kids seemed to have walked right off of one of the sets. I thought that to be cool, to be accepted, meant that I had to look exactly like them. I still wasn’t a part of the “elite”, however, by just dressing the part. I was eleven, and my self-confidence was at an all time low.

The first time I recall trying to move up on the social ladder, I was in kindergarten. There were three levels to the hierarchy. At the top were the fastest runners, next came the kids with no front teeth, and at the bottom were those whose only talent consisted of being able to color inside the lines, if even that. I was in the group of the latter. My cool, new Sketchers didn’t hold up to their promise of cheetah-like speed, and my teeth seemed cemented to my gums. Losing a tooth seemed more plausible though, and so I lied about it. I conjured up some story about the dentist having to pull one of my molars. I told everyone my mouth was too sore to open wide, and everyone bought it.

As small of an issue that it was, it was a pattern that I began to fall into. I would lie to my “friends”, let them cheat off of me, anything in my grasp that I thought would make them like me more.  I had to be one of them, or so I thought.

Eighth grade. It was a big year for me. I had seniority over the rest of the middle school, and I also had an epiphany. I came to the realization that I could never be the coolest. No one ever is. There’s always someone more popular. This revelation allowed me to venture out, to stop limiting myself to what I thought I was supposed to be doing, and thus allowing me to do what I was actually interested in.

Being cool is a relatively loose term, and should be defined by you, and only you. In the grand scheme of things, friends don’t always last forever. You grow apart, grow up, etc. Whatever the reason, you shouldn’t confine what you like and how you act to who you hang around, or who you wish to hang around. Be different, all the cool kids wish they could be doing it.

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About the Contributor
Sydney Schoen
Sydney Schoen, Co-editor in chief
Sydney is a third-year publications student and a co-editor in chief.  She describes herself as weird, unlucky, and believes she only has friends because of her brutally honest, yet hilarious stories. She hates socially awkward places and when people are Tyra Banks crazy. She adores B-rated documentaries, genuinely being someone’s Woman Crush Wednesday, and when people ask her to be in pictures. Sydney loves the era from 1964  to ‘74 for the civil revolution (because she ain’t no wifey) and is the reincarnation of a flower child.

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    Summer MasseyFeb 17, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Syd, I love your story on trying to fit in. I met you in eighth grade, and I remember thinking you were one of the coolest people I’d ever met (you still are), and that is why you have so many friends. You always have an independent attitude. Like, “march to the beat of your own drum”. I can’t wait to read more of your stories. I miss you.

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    ann tarwaterFeb 4, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Sydney, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story on popularity. I remember you telling me in tennis that you liked to write, or that it seemed to come easy for you, and you are right! Everyone has different talents, and I’d love to have this one. It will take you far in life and especially your career. Miss you in tennis, but Canah is keeping us entertained. Ann p.s. keep writing and i’ll keep reading!

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Struggle to fit in