Page 1 Michael Woods Honors Freshman Seminar 10/1/12 This I Believe The human soul, groaning for a place to rest

. A place where it can find the happy medium in-between personal expression and gaining acceptance from a group of peers. Now more than ever, we live in a place where standing out has been glorified even though deep down inside of us we long to just fit in with the crowd. Society has put this idea into our mind that we are meant to be individualistic with social patterns of life. But how much individualism can we call our own? I believe that there is zero, or little originality concerning social relationships and patterns because there will always be outside influences that will shape us whether we are aware of it or not. A couple years ago in my sophomore year of high school my friends and I began to dive really deep into music exploring all different types of genres and bands. (These bands ranged from rap, alternative, contemporary, underground, and hardcore music.) A buddy of mine had found a band that was called NEEDTOBREATHE that was as alternative/country/bluegrass band that had caught his attention and he recommended it to me and actually gave me their CD to begin listening to. At first, I was a little sketched out because he likes some of the weirdest music in the world but I thought I might as well give it a try. As I got to the end of the CD, there was a song named "Garden" that had a lyric that said "Who I am is not just me", and from the day I had heard that, I have never forgotten it. As I began playing that song over and over, I started to really think how that line coincides with my life as well as how my own individualism fits into the equation.

Page 2 "Who I am is not just me." How could it be any other way?! I find this topic to be significant because there are many things that have guided me to be the type of person that I am today. The one influence that has really sunk its teeth in who I am are my friends. Back home, I had a group of great friends that were literally always there. We were constantly hanging out all the time and did everything together, from going to church to going to school. It came to the point where we all had 4 sets of parents that governed over us to make sure we weren't acting too stupid. As I began to spend more time with these people, our morals, opinions, personalities, and lifestyles had started to blend in with each other. The original intentions of befriending these people was not to become just like them. But as time progressed, we began to slowly influence each other and our different perspectives on life began to form together to make one complete image. Over those years in which I had spent with my friends, I had changed so much in almost every single aspect of life such as how I treated people, how I dressed, what I ate, what I watched on TV and sometimes how much effort that I would put into school. No matter how much I wanted to claim that I was my own person, I know that I must deny that claim just because of the physical, and psychological evidence that was present. In my circumstance, there is absolutely no denying the fact that who I am isn't just me, and I believe that it is the same exact way for everyone else. Like me, a lot of us would like to claim that we are our own person and we love to brag about our own individualism when in all reality we are just a mere reflections of what we are allowing to influence our lives. So not only do we have a little bit ourselves in us, but we also have parts of our family, friends, peers, and religion. I find this lyric very intriguing because a lot of times in life we wonder who exactly we are, so we go searching for our identity and who we really are. So in order to look for our identity, we must look intrinsically at ourselves, only to come to the realization that who we really are, is not just us.

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