(A. O'Connell)

A. O'Connell

Opinion: retrograde will tear us apart

February 29, 2020

High school is an experimental time for teenagers; everyone is struggling to “find their place” in this world. So many students go through so many different phases over the course of their four years in high school. Change is inevitable, but do some people get too carried away with the trends that they forget who they really are?

I have always been one to do things my way. I could never just jump aboard the newest craze “because my friends were doing it.” Of course, it’s nice to keep up with your friends, but I’ve seen many people leave behind what they stood for in place of what society favors. There comes a point where “fitting in” turns into “selling out.”

I see a problem in the way some people allow themselves to be walked over by the “popular” people. Why be treated like someone else’s pet? Why be a pawn in someone else’s scheme? Are these few short years of “fame” really worth it?

I’ve walked the halls of Huntley High for four years now and a lot of what I observe is just a sea of one breed of fish. I’ve seen people throw out old clothes in exchange for overpriced “trendy” brands, and all that does is strip them of their creativity and character. Diversity is dying, and our identities with it.

Trends are not supposed to be things that you adapt to, but things that adapt to you. They’ve existed forever, but they have never controlled a generation quite like our own. If you don’t vape or drink, you’re not cool. If you don’t shop at Tilly’s, you’re inferior. If you don’t listen to rap, you’re a loser. How did this happen?

Our generation values what other people think too much, so not enough people do what they want. Some are afraid to admit who their favorite artist is. Some are afraid to leave their girlfriend or boyfriend in fear that they won’t be able to find another one, or that society would look down on them for it. It’s crazy, but these things happen. 

Don’t be afraid to do what appeals to you. While it is cliché, the phrase “be yourself” means more now than it ever has. As we give ourselves up to fit in, we lose our confidence and our best characteristics. You are awesome when you do what you love. If you honestly like what’s popular, then do it. Just don’t go backwards so you can fit in with a clique, because retrograde will tear us apart.

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