School Drama

When I was in middle school, there were a couple of kids that started vandalizing the boys bathroom during the school day. These kids would plan ahead to meet with each other in the bathroom at the same time and they would do inappropriate things, leaving a mess in the bathroom. This went on for a couple of weeks and nobody caught them. So, one day I was in the bathroom while all of the kids, including some of my friends, were doing their shenanigans and I decided that it looked like too much fun to pass on. I thoroughly enjoyed partaking in throwing wet toilet paper and watching it splatter all over the bathroom walls. After this event, the janitors suspected that these inappropriate activities were taking place by the same boys and they wanted to get to the bottom of the situation. The Principal decided to set up a camera in the hallway, set on the bathroom door so they could monitor who was going in and out. Obviously none of us knew they were observing the bathroom. While this was happening, me and my friends met up in the bathroom to do it again. Little did we know, this was going to be our last time. After we had thrown the toilet paper at the wall once again, we went back to class. The Principal checked the bathroom and the camera and knew by the timing that we were in the bathroom while this was occurring, leaving us as suspects. Later that day, the Principal started interviewing some of the students that had been in the bathroom earlier that day. Before my name was called upon to be interviewed, I turned myself in, admitting to my actions in the bathroom. Although what I did was wrong, I hadn’t damaged anything in the bathroom, just made a mess on the wall. I hadn’t realized that some of the boys had actually caused damage to the ceiling and ruined some of the ceiling tiles. What had started as boys pranking the bathroom had escalated into a more destructive situation. I admitted to the Principal the part that I played in the whole thing. I felt ashamed realizing that the poor Janitors had to clean up after us as I hadn’t even thought about that. My punishment was excessive I thought but it was what it was. Again I was mortified that all of my teachers would know what I had done. I apologized to each one of my teachers, the Principal, and the Janitors and offered to clean up the mess that everyone had made. I stayed for a couple of hours that day after school cleaning every inch of the mess that we had made. At the time that I was having fun, I wasn’t thinking how awful it was to clean up the whole mess or that money would have to be spent on replacing ceiling tiles. I believe that I made the right choice by taking full responsibility for my actions and turning myself in rather than trying to escape being in trouble. I felt good about how I handled the situation and many of my teachers agreed with my point that this one event in my school career didn’t define who I was. Everybody makes mistakes and I am just glad I made mine in my younger years and learned by it. I have always respected my own things and since then I promised myself to always respect everyone else’s, as well as all public properties.

Setting My Boundaries

       Standing up for others can be a difficult thing, just because the thought of the consequences crosses your mind. I have had many moments where I’ve had to speak up and defend others, but this time I had to stand up for myself. Being a teenager can be hard sometimes.

During my 3 years of living Upstate, New York, many things went downhill for me at school with friends. I was “friends” with these girls who were “popular” and always started drama. I didn’t like this side of them and looked for the good in them, but one day it really got to me. Now they were talking about me to others behind my back. This made me feel horrible because these two girls I was friends with were there for me when I was the new girl, but then their true colors showed. It annoyed me because when I’m in a friendship I put a lot of effort in it and loyalty. As a friend I try my very best to be there when you need me but if you do something to hurt me everything changes. They made up horrible rumors about me and I ignored it for a while and kept my distance, but then later on it started to get to me. It got to me because now people were blowing up my phone and laptop with messages, people I never gave my number to. Everyone thought I was the “mean city girl” because I’m from New York City and I “look mean” to people. The comments these girls were making weren’t really bothering me, it was the fact that people who don’t know me were texting me and bothering me while I’m home. Made-up rumors after rumor, lie after lie, my number was given out to random people, bombarded by random calls and messages that became too much, so I decided to speak to them, I didn’t even want to know why they would start this and was just so irritated about it all and told them to cut it out and leave my name out of their mouth. They didn’t like that I told them to leave me out of their made-up drama and gave me an attitude. I told them if they had a problem or something against me to talk to me about it because that is what friends do, not make up stories and worst of it all give my personal number out without permission. They ended up apologizing for everything that happened and what they did and said. I did forgive them because I understand everyone makes mistakes and we were friends. Months later one of the girls had sent me a whole essay apologizing again but this time with an actual reason as to why she felt she needed to do it. She told me that she felt insecure because of me and was jealous of me, calling me “perfect”. I told her that she shouldn’t be insecure because of me, she was a beautiful and smart girl, but just made bad decisions. I distanced myself and didn’t bother to try or talk to them because they were never truthful and repeated the same issues again. When someone shows you their true colors, take it for what it is and know your value.

Soccer Drama

I feel like standing up for people is always needed if you see someone getting put down or targeted. I know if I was in that situation I would want some backup too. Regardless, ignoring situations like these can make them worse. If you stand up to the person that you see putting someone else down, shows that its 2-1. The person will move on knowing now that the target isn’t alone. I have personally been in multiple situations of a “bystander” throughout elementary and middle school. Even though situations like these can be difficult with knowing how to help, saying something is always appreciated.

Through my entire childhood to my starting years of middle school, I played soccer. With sports it’s extremely easy to get put down by kids who think they’re so much better than you. Ive witnessed many situations like this throughout my years playing. I remember one time in 4th grade our team combined with the older team for a day. We all got put in groups to practice together while the coaches were talking about games. I got with a good group but I remember my friend got put by herself with people she didn’t talk to. I overheard the girls aggressively correcting everything she did. Now, corrections are completely understandable, but these girls would laugh if she missed the ball etc. I knew that she was getting upset by this, but I was so little and wasn’t sure what to do. If that was me, I honestly would’ve cried. That is a situation I really wish I stood up in, but I was too young to understand what to do. Getting targeted by older kids, is honestly one of the worst things i’ve ever seen any of my friends go through, during sports or at school.

I really believe that stuff like this shouldn’t be happening in general. Treating people the way you want to be treated is something that should always apply to friends or not. If that was me in that situation, I would’ve wanted one of my friends to come over and comfort me. If circumstances were different, and I was older, I would’ve said something to those girls being mean to my friend. We were 9 years old, the last thing from perfect. That situation is definitely one of the situations I regret not standing up in. Now I know what I can do in situations like that to help my friends if they ever need it.

Stand Up For What’s Best

Standing up for what’s right could be hard in certain situations, especially if you’re the only one doing so. Over the years between school, sporting events, parties, and just public activities there have been many cases where standing up was the thing to do. The older i’ve gotten, it’s more apparent how important it is to stand up and do what’s right. One instance I remember that really stood out to me was during a lacrosse game. When playing for a club team that gets ranked high, all of the girls are extremely passionate for the sport. With a win over a team, it’s devastating for the other players. Even in the moment of the win, I always try to put myself in their shoes. A loss is tough, and when you’re eliminated from the playoffs it’s even tougher. Seeing a lot of this really makes you more compassionate after the game. Going off of this, there was one moment that I will always remember which stuck with me. 

We were in a big tournament where many teams were fighting to be the best. Our team in particular, was one of the hardest working in the tournament. When one of the most important games came, it was so full of hard work and emotion. Both teams put up an incredible fight and the game came down to one goal. With about 30 seconds remaining, I got the perfect pass which allowed me to put us up one goal. The game time ran out, and we were advancing to the championship. Immediately I celebrated with my teammates because, who wouldn’t! But then I glanced over to the other team and noticed most of the girls had their heads down and were really upset. The feeling of losing after working so hard and getting so close to the championship is one that’s hard to face. After we said our cheer and figured out the time and place we were meeting, I decided to walk over and give them a quick message. Of course there was tension and many of them definitely didn’t want to hear from me or any of my teammates. But I still went over and just let all of the girls know how hard they all worked and how much of a good game it was. Surprisingly, they were all so nice and appreciative of it. It was a very small and minor standup situation, but it definitely impacted the feelings of the team. 

This situation happened a few years ago, and years after we always see them at our tournaments and have to play them. The games are always so close and get super intense. We win some, and we lose some, but they always make us better. Whenever I see the other team after the game, a little wave is exchanged and I even have a few new friends. Thus, I impacted the team we played against, and my own. My teammates made sure to follow after me and add to the encouragement. To this day, smiles are exchanged before and after the games, never during them though! After this situation, it finally made me realize how much sports don’t just impact you physically with confidence, but also mentally. With only a few words said and a little encouragement, it can change the way people think and feel. Never underestimate the power of words, even if it’s only a couple. It can make someone’s day just a little better. 

Guidance Counselor Disaster!

During my middle school years, I was known as the “picture perfect student.” I had good grades, played sports, and was class president. Many thought they knew everything about me, making up reasons to judge or hate me even if they were my “friends.” 7th grade year started strong. We had a big friend group as well as our normal girls only group. We would sit together at lunch everyday and have some of the funniest conversations that no one would understand but us. We had the same group of friends for a while and never really changed it around. Then, a new girl came into town and we all got close. We showed her around and invited her to all of our sleepovers/parties. The group had started bonding and getting closer than ever. 

    Then a fallout happened between me and that same new girl. As more people found out about the drama, the girl would put more into the story then there was. The year went by and group texts were sent and not very nice things were said. The texts got leaked, so the counselor and principal got involved. Luckily, I did not say anything worth getting called down to the office. The school year finally ended, which meant the chances of seeing her was slim, which led to a drama free summer. But then of course, it came to an end, which meant eighth grade was starting. 

    We all kept our distance from the drama and started to get our group back to normal. Indeed we were down a girl, but it was the best for everyone. Counselors normally did check-ins to classes in the beginning of the year, and this was no different. Sitting in spanish class, she walked in and got ready for her daily speech. “Choose kind” was always the topic. As she got more in depth, she decided to use examples of students and friends groups. When she turned to the idea of drama and social media, a story I had recognized came up. The one revolving around my friends and I. My cheeks turned red and my whole body started to get tense. My eyes bolted from one friend to another, everyone realizing what was happening. The counselor had been telling everyone our personal business. Of course she kept names out but it was easily recognizable since half the grade already heard about it. As she finished telling our story, I knew it was wrong. Invading and sharing personal information was definitely not in her job description. So I decided to take a stand and address the situation. After the class period, I walked down to her office, sat down, and told her my opinion. I expressed how wrong and unfair it was to share with the class. I mentioned how it was out of line and too personal to tell twenty other kids. 

    She was taken back. At first I was hesitant to continue, but I knew I had to stand my ground. I made sure she got my point and waited for her response. You could tell the counselor regretted her actions and knew what she had done was wrong. After she comprehended what had just happened, the counselor apologized and began to see why it had angered me. Relief filled my body and a smirk came across my face. It felt good to prove someone wrong, especially when they think they’re always right. None of my other friends would have said something so I knew I needed to. The bell rang so I quickly said my goodbyes and hurried for the door. It was getting tense and a little bit awkward in there anyways. When I entered the hallway, I sighed and walked confidently back to class. I knew that standing up for myself was the best and only way to go.

He Changed My Life

So, in school there is always the “annoying kid” or “the kid who is annoying just for attention” that everyone makes fun of or who no one likes. My cousin who is the same age as me and in the same school as me was that kid. I love him a lot because he is honestly a great person to be around and he isn’t who everyone thinks he is. He is passionate about having a great future and getting big so he can be the greatest. He has these hopes because his life isn’t going so well at home and he just wants to be positive and work hard so he gets a better life. Ever since elementary school I have been sticking up for him when kids would call him annoying and they would have to go through me first before they ever got to him. Our relationship was like brother and sister where I am the only one that can call him annoying and I can only make fun of him. There was always a kid that would go at him for being annoying and would bully him constantly. All the way through elementary school to middle school. I was never a fan of this kid and I was very bossy so I would yell at this kid every time he would go near my cousin. My cousin wasn’t a favorite to the teachers either because he would try to do anything to get attention in class and would get in trouble. When people would find out about me being his cousin they would say things like “oh I feel bad for you” which I loved him and I wasn’t embarrassed to be his cousin. He would act out and get in trouble because he didn’t get attention at home and it really affected him and how he acted around other kids. As everyone was getting older he still acted like this and didn’t have many friends so I would always invite him to our lunch table and I always wanted to include him. My close girl friends knew who he was outside of school and how cool he was so they never minded because they grew a love for him too. My guy friends on the other hand still thought he was annoying and he would get on their nerves. But when I heard one of my guy friends say stuff that wasn’t nice to his face I yelled at them later and told them to back off or I can’t be friends with them. They chose to back off and went with everything because I told them it wasn’t right and I’m not going to be friends with people who treat my family like that. I always stood up for him and one year on halloween we had a party where he was there and all my friends were. That’s when my friends saw who he was outside of school and grew a little closer to him and were more accepting of him. My goal was to always make him feel loved and to know that I was always there for him no matter what. He still can get on my nerves but I love hanging out with him and because of covid we aren’t in school with each other so it sucks I don’t get to see him as much. My friends still say hi to him and talk to him which makes me really happy and I know that all the years of standing up for him and making sure he was loved paid off. I’ve stood up for many people because I have a loud voice and I know that sometimes things you say can really hurt. I chose to write this story because I’m proud of the person I’ve become, especially knowing not to judge kids like my cousin and to not jump to conclusions since you don’t know their at home life or backstory. I’ve been around a lot of people who put others down and some have been my friends but when my friends go farther than just a simple joke sometimes it bothers me and I have to say something. Just remember to never judge people right away and to just mind your own business because you never know how hard a person’s life can be already and you can just be making it worse.

Sincerely,

Jenna Brescia

Compassion

When I was just about four years old I found out that I was getting a baby sister. I was ecstatic about it, to the point where I would ask my mom every day when she was going to be here. After a while of waiting, she was finally here and seemed healthy. As she started to get older we figured out that something wasn’t right. She wasn’t eating, sleeping, and couldn’t walk. We kept going to all different kinds of doctors and they couldn’t seem to pinpoint what was wrong. My parents got a different diagnosis from every doctor until we started going to a very good one. They diagnosed her with ADD, OCD, and ADHD at first, so that means that she is going to have issues with learning and doing everyday things. Then after a couple of years, my family and I have concluded that something is still not right. Therefore, my mom took her to a Neurologist who ran some tests. She came back with a result that Bella has Tourettes. This is very hard on her and makes her get frustrated with herself. In addition, people all around her would either make fun of her or get frustrated as well. I started to catch on and stepped in because I knew she couldn’t do it herself. Being an upstander is important because you are giving someone support when something is wrong. Also, to jump in when you let them know that you are there for them. I explained to people what goes on with her and how she can’t do the things that regular kids her age can.   I know that not many people can understand it because they don’t have the same complications as her. Nevertheless, I try as best as I can to explain, so there is a better understanding of it. I know she cannot defend herself and I don’t want her to beat herself up with something she can do nothing about.  When she can’t understand her math homework, I explain it to her. Bella loves books and often reads to her grandparents over the phone.  When I hear her I realize she is below the level she should be so I try to help her with her reading skills. Also when I have my friends over, I allow her to join us if she seems lonely and my friends become her friends.  Although we fight all the time, I make sure that I am always there to help and stand up for her. At the end of the day, she is my sister, I care a lot about her, and don’t want her getting hurt. Now, looking back on these years, I have noticed that my actions of standing up for my sister have made her look up to me. In addition, this has made me learn the lesson of compassion. 

Reaching for the Glass Ceiling

Standing up for others, or yourself can sometimes be challenging. Sometimes it even happens when you’re joking around with your friends but it can go too far sometimes. Some people may not have enough confidence or are afraid of everyone judging them, so saying something can be really hard for a lot of people. Although it may be hard, standing up for someone is a lot better than sitting around doing nothing. 

 

Middle school and high school can be rough phases in your life. People have a lot of their own opinions and they don’t realize what they say can hurt someone. To add to that, a lot of people are very vocal about how they feel and sometimes don’t consider other people’s feelings. For example, a few of my guy friends have told me jokes that they find hysterical but I did not. The jokes are always about how not funny women are and how every time someone says something women get offended. This went on for a long time, and after not saying anything for a while and kind of just ignoring the fact that they were degrading women, I finally decided I needed to say something. I told them that it’s messed up to degrade women and that not every female act the same way. They were constantly using a lot of stereotypes and making jokes out of it, thinking it was funny. They would say stuff saying that I needed to go back to the kitchen, joking about how women aren’t funny and shouldn’t have rights and just things along those lines. That made me stand up for myself even more. I continued to tell them that what they were saying was inappropriate. I don’t think they were deliberately trying to degrade women but that is what they were doing. They didn’t realize that saying those kinds of things aren’t okay especially in today’s society. Me standing up for myself and other women made me feel better and more confident. Even after I said something they continued to make jokes. That is when I decided not to associate myself with them any further. 

 

Sometimes standing up for yourself doesn’t fully stop the issue but it does feel good to do so. It helps you become more confident in those types of situations. Where if you were in a similar situation again, you could say something without having the fear that you would be judged. It also helped me make the decision to stop talking to them considering they still make jokes on occasion. Standing up for yourself and others is the right thing to do and it will help solve the issue. Growing up my dad would always tell me to reach for the glass ceiling and tell me if I tried hard enough I could break it. I always keep this in mind whenever misogyny is present in my day-to-day life. So, I keep fighting to break the glass ceiling and not let societal standards keep me silent.

Unnecessary Jokes

A lot of people find it very difficult to stand up for themselves including me. Even though you know it’s the right thing to do. I understand it’s hard to do when no one is willing to back you up since I have felt that way before. One time I wish I had stood up for myself was about a year ago. I was hanging out in my basement with a bunch of friends and one of the boys made a joke that I’ve heard many times. I’m not sure who has heard this joke before but it’s a pretty common antisemitic phrase and or action; where he/she throw pennies on the ground and looks at you and asks if you’re going to pick them up. People make this joke because it’s a stereotypical thing that Jewish people will pick up random coins off the ground. I wish I had said something at the time but I didn’t because when something bothers me I tend to stay quiet and not talk to anyone. I’ve heard this joke countless times but this is the first time it really bothered me since it was a friend making the joke. When he did this it really aggravated me at the moment and it still does just thinking about the situation. I know personally for me the reason I was scared to say something and stick up for myself was that I was scared to be put down, stand-alone, and just ignored. Looking back I really wish I had stood up for myself at the moment because after that day the jokes continued and I let it bother me every time. Thinking about it I would never let anyone speak to me that way ever again. The way it made me feel was an indescribable feeling that I don’t think anyone deserves to go through or feel.

 

 

 

 

Knowing your self-worth

Under no circumstances, do you ever settle yourself short. If you know you deserve better than what you’re receiving, use your voice and make a statement. At a young age, we all get taught that this world is cruel and built upon a competitive mindset. Life isn’t one big happy fairy tale. No matter the destination or time, the thought of being the best of the best is always there. Especially as you grow up and get a job, wanting a raise is a very powerful, confident statement. Knowing the value of work and ethics will play a significant role in taking control in what you personally deserve. You want to always be striving for something higher, a goal you’re self-assured you’ll achieve.

Observing the gestures and the way other individuals display themselves, have made it easier for me to point out what their self-desires are in life. When it comes down to the point of wanting something, knowing you deserve it more than others will guide you through your troubles. I’ve witnessed this scenario happen to others and what could come out of it. I will explain their inconveniences and annoyance throughout their problem. It all starts off with wanting a raise for their job. However, this wasn’t just built on the thought of money, but actually the reassurance of implying what they truly deserved. When their raise suggestion was turned down, second thoughts of staying with that company were overwhelming. Despite of everything, those thoughts soon became frustrating as she watched someone else receive a raise higher than hers. This wasn’t jealously, it was the sole fact she had been working non-stop, while the person who got the raise was slacking and missing days of work repeatedly. Since she’d known her self-worth and knew she deserved more, she left that company and got a new job who approved of her desired raise.

This taught me to never settle for something that doesn’t please my goals. You will go through fails and the backstabbing of life, but that doesn’t mean you should turn away from wanting to succeed more in life. You take the frustration and turn it into a confidence booster. If you know you deserve more, use your voice. If you want to achieve something, strive higher than everyone else. If you think for even a second someone is selling you short, you make a statement that will leave them flabbergasted. Nothing will ever come easy in today’s society, for this exact reason knowing your self-worth is the only way you’re ever going to feel good about yourself and your accomplishments.

 

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