Everyone is affected by certain events or individuals that greatly change their life. Many people have influenced me during my life. Three wonderful friends that have had a special effect on me are Robert, Tiffany and Ashley. In the four years that I have known them well, they have been my best friends, and have helped to transform me from a lonely middle school scholar into a happy senior with a decent social life.
Popular wisdom has it that, "You judge a man by his friends." Earlier in my life, that would have been difficult, because I had few friends other than my cousins. I concentrated mostly on school and sports, paying little attention to life outside my studies. My high grades made me the target of torment during elementary school, the name calling: nerd, geek, and worse, was so bad that I was ostracized by some of the class, and I shielded myself by further isolation. My Middle School experience was no different. I was still a loner. All the dances passed by, and I found other, solitary ways to occupy myself. I rarely took time to hang out with fellow students during weekends or vacation time. Then came high school, and in Mrs. Krawet's Global Studies I class I sat next to this energetic guy named Robert, who joked about the no-brained teenagers working in 7-11's, made fun of the way our teacher dramatized the pronunciation of the Huang-Ho and Yangtze Rivers, and satirized the teacher's methodology of hand-signals for facts, generalizations, and cause/effect. Finding common ground in our senses of humor, and love of the TV Simpson's, we grew acquainted with each other. Later in the year we teamed up as the defense lawyers in a class mock trial in which Mao Zedong was charged with crimes against the people of China. To Mrs. Krawet's dismay, "legal wrangling" caused the mock trial to last two weeks, even though she had planned for it to take three days, until it was resolved by a split decision, with the jury voting 6 guilty and 6 innocent. More important than the result was the experience of friendship and shared learning. We each had a great deal of fun preparing questions for the witnesses and planning our cross examinations, and after the trial we remained good friends.
Tenth grade would be a notable year. Robert introduced me to Ashley and Tiffany, our classmates in English. The four of us had a great time making our first home movie, based on the allegory Redwall, at Robert's house. Our filming day coincided with a snowstorm, so the outside scenes were hilarious. Plus, when we jumped up against the side of Rob's house, we knocked down some books off a shelf inside. In the end, we all had a great laugh watching our final product. In March, Tiffany invited me to her Sweet Sixteen birthday party, the first major social occasion that I had attended in years. I will always remember the wonderful time we all had dancing and celebrating. Later in the year, we made another movie for English class, which was more of a satire. In it we managed to include many of our history teacher Mrs. Lemma's infamous quotes by working them into the lines of Basil Stag Hare, a character from the Redwall novel who often spoke in nonsense. In June Tiffany invited Ashley and me to her house for a study party, hoping that we could learn enough of Global Studies to excel on the Regents exam. After wasting most of the afternoon watching TV, we highlighted the review book, and we were finally ready for the big test.
Last fall Tiffany and Ashley convinced me to go to the Homecoming dance, and I began to realize all the fun that life has to offer. It was only natural that the group of us had an even better time at our Junior Prom. I must admit that if I had never met them, I would have missed out on the complete experience of a truly special occasion. On Halloween we all went trick-or-treating in Ashley's neighborhood, with Robert dressed as an outrageous mime, and I in the less exotic costume of a carpetbagger. That night we took a trip through the haunted house; we were blinded by the strobe light in the basement, and scared out of our wits when a 'ghost' jumped out of a fake coffin and started up a chain-saw. Now, as the first to have a driver's license, I've become the chauffeur to dances, movies, and restaurants.
As one might guess, Tiff, Rob and Ashley have all exerted a positive influence on me. My senior year is full of group projects, after school activities, and companionship with friends that all had its beginning with a humorous classmate in the ninth grade. Although I still spend significant time on schoolwork, I enjoy life much more, and my grades remain high. Friendship is one of the great gifts of life, and Robert, Tiffany, and Ashley have helped me to fully enjoy it. Knowing them has been one of the highlights of my life, and they have surely left their footprints on my soul.