Against conformity

Isaac Rubin, 16, is a student at Reno High School

Without realizing it, many are drawn into the welcoming, comfortable grip of being just like everyone else. But do they really know how dangerous this dreadful monster—conformity—is, and the effect it has on their minds? Of course not. Otherwise, they would choose their own path of life, not that of another’s.

To conform, by definition, is to make or be like; to obey. This is most commonly seen when something is made popular, usually by a large corporation, the media or a popular person among groups of friends. The people who tend to conform are those who feel they need to belong, need to fit in. Often, though not always, these individuals are somewhat ignorant, making them all too vulnerable to this poison apple of society.

I have become surrounded by this act of grouping together in the “teenage world” I live in. Seeing these packs of kids band together without mercy fills me with an immense feeling of hatred, even before I ever have a decent conversation them. I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but it has come to the point where I can’t help but do so, since nine out of 10 times, I can predict what the person will be like. Most commonly, these kids have no unique personality, no individuality. They simply follow what their peers say or do.

What I’m really getting at is that kids just need to educate themselves. In many cases, when I have an interesting conversation with a person, they seem to fit the “norm” a great deal less and rarely conform to things because of what their friends are doing. Those who can think freely for themselves and have their own opinions and input with cold, hard facts to back them up, the more freedom they have. Since this country was built on “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” why not maximize our opportunities for all three?

In order to pursue happiness, one must first be liberated. The greatest way to free yourself is through knowledge, for knowledge not only gives you power over the ignorant, but also the ability to formulate your own ideas, opinions and doctrines. Knowledge influences the choices you make in a much stronger way than any preacher, friend or family member ever can, and it’s 100 percent independent. You don’t need anyone but yourself to do something such as explore the arts or research philosophies, sciences, religions or any other subject at your will.

So, to all of my fellow teens—to the smart, the dumb, the trendsetters, the coattail riders, the conformists and the rebels—educate yourselves in any form you please. Whatever form of knowledge you choose, use that knowledge to your advantage. Have your own educated opinion, speak up and stand out. Don’t conform to other people’s stupidity.