OC HIGH: STUDENT NEWS AND VIEWS : Just Being Yourself Can Be a Step Toward Happiness

Throughout my 16 years, the one thing that I have consistently had is an eclectic assortment of friends.

I have been labeled the wigger, the schoolboy, the flunky and the genius--all at one time.

The reason for this is that, during my early adolescence, I spent my time trying to be like other people. I would emulate others instead of trying to create a personality of my own.

I found that when I tried to be one particular thing, I got bored. My personality and intellect don't just fit in one category.

Also, trying to "fit in" frustrated me. All of my feelings, sense of humor and personality were just bottled up and vacuum-sealed, keeping me from opening up and, ultimately, from being happy.

I finally got sick of it and, like a shaken soda bottle, I just blew up. And all of my old friends finally saw that they could not push me around anymore.

With my newfound openness and the curse of shyness gone, I started making new friends.

But these friends were different, because I was myself when I met them. Now I can talk to pretty much everybody. And my close friends are truly there for me; that is all that I care about.

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