Pressures of acceptance weigh down on teenagers

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BY CAMILA ESPINOSA

When freshman Jacqueline Ondarroa first started high school, she said coming to the Bay was nerve-wracking due to the large student body. However, Ondarroa said her main fear was not being able to successfully make friends.

“Transferring to such a large school terrified me, even though I had friends at [the Bay] already,” Ondarroa said. “You never know what you’ll encounter the first day [when] you walk through those doors or who you’ll have class with or who you will see and who you won’t.”

Besides fitting in at a new school, Ondarroa said she wanted to find friends who would accept her for who she is and not try to change her.

“Sometimes, you find people who will accept you for you and it will be great,” Ondarroa said. “However, others simply do not accept you as easily and you start changing to basically meet their standards. I want friends who I can just be myself with and have fun.”

Similar to Ondarroa, freshman Isabel Nanhoe said sometimes students may find it hard to feel accepted due to the number of people in the student body.

“There’s about 4,800 students in school this year,” Nanhoe said. “[The amount of students at the Bay is] a crazy amount of people that go to a single school which makes it hard to find a group of friends among so many people.”

Nanhoe said she feels students should not feel pressured to change themselves to fit into a group of people. According to her, it’s normal to keep oneself’s’ values in mind.

“I admit at times, I’ve felt like I had to do something to fit in and look something like the other girls at school,” Nanhoe said. “But then, I also remind myself that it’s okay to be different and to stand out. Real friends will accept me no matter how I dress and what I do or don’t do.”

According to Sergeant Major Jorge Cruz, pressure to be accepted may have negative effects on students. He said students might lose sight of their goals and dreams as well as their values while trying to fit in with others.

“Students feel that by changing, they are now part of the clique, when in essence, they are letting others dictate who they are,” Cruz said.

Even though Cruz said he felt pressured to fit in when he went to school, he said people should always stay true to their identities by remembering where they came from.

“When I went to school, where you lived and the clothes you wore would dictate who you were,” Cruz said. “Sometimes, students decided that in order to fit in they need to change however, they shouldn’t. [Students] should never let others change who they are.”

By accepting individuality and uniqueness, Cruz said students may find more creativity in their day to day life and can contribute great ideas to the world.

“Students have so much potential that they do not intend to use just because they feel pressure to fit in,” Cruz said. “If students realized how much their personality and ways to see things benefit the world around them, then they would not be as insistent in fitting into a group that does not think outside the box.”

Nanhoe, as well as Cruz, agrees that a life full of individuality can be a joyous one. She said by being distinctive, an individual can be more aware of the experiences they enjoy and take more pleasure in doing such activities.

“Wasting time trying to fit in can cause a person to forget about the things they like to do, wear, watch and even eat,” Nanhoe said. “By being your own individual, you can take pride in doing whatever makes you happy without feeling like you can’t do it because of someone or something.”

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