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Finding your place on the social ladder


DeanWe all have our place on the ladder that is high school. Whether we stand at the top or the bottom, it’s still just another rung on the ladder. It’s just another step.

I used to believe that it was about how many friends I had or how many people knew me. Then I realized that every teacher since kindergarten was right. When it comes to friends, it is quality over quantity. Because it doesn’t matter how hard I try to be the most popular or the best at anything. Within the mass of high school, we’re all just a speck in the air, a stitch in the fabric, a fish in the school.

For many years, I wanted to be cool. I wanted to be part of the in-crowd. Watching the popular kids in the movies always made me think that everyone else was a loser and wasn’t having as much fun. But let me say, it’s all about perspective.

Now that I’m more comfortable with myself and with where I am on the high school ladder, I’m having more fun than I ever was while dreaming of being cool. I’m able to be myself, let loose, have fun and enjoy the friends I have.

Where you are in the social chain doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have fun and be yourself. I found people who like me when I’m not trying to be cool or popular. That means they like me for who I am. Those are the friends I belong with. That’s the group I belong with. But what group you’re in doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter.

Some people think that the group matters. Some people pride themselves on being higher up the ladder. I used to think how high I was on the ladder mattered. It doesn’t. I don’t know where I am on the ladder. But I don’t care.

If I’m on the bottom rung, so be it. I’m having a blast on the bottom rung.

There are a lot of people in the world. There’s even a good amount of people in just one school. It’s nearly impossible for any one person to stand out among that many people. So why try so hard for something that might not even be possible? Why try so hard if you might lose yourself along the way? Is it worth it to try and be all alone at the top?

I asked myself those questions a couple of years back. And when I got my answers, I started to settle in wherever I happened to be on the ladder. And there I remain.

I believe that if people are happy where they are on each rung, then maybe every rung can be equal. It doesn’t matter how many people like you. If you can’t be yourself, and if they don’t know you, then what is it worth?

The top can be a lonely place if you’re all alone. If every group is happy, and every person within that group is content, then it doesn’t matter who they are or what group they’re in.

Maybe the social ladder isn’t a ladder at all. Maybe it isn’t to be climbed.

Maybe it’s a bridge, a walkway, a rest stop, a viewpoint — where every place is equal and every person has the same view of something beautiful.

Perrin Dean is a senior at Wilsonville High School. She is contributing a regular column to the Spokesman this school year.