“She’ll never be beautiful like we are,” the girls said. “She failed her history test again?” they gossipped to one another in sick delight. A rather cliché story, I suppose. As a young girl, I grew up with my two front teeth missing and my grades suffering due to a lack of self esteem from bullying and troubles at home. I used to weep silently, clutching my sheets, as I attempted night after night to fall into slumber, only to be met with the same troubles at school and home the following day. So I made a change, not to my physical appearance, but I decided that I would work hours on end to improve my grades and reach the top of my class. By improving my work ethic, I change my outlook on the world to one of hope and determination. I became the president of the Student Government Association at my middle school, and I achieved the A honor roll. My teeth had finally come in, but I no longer desired to possess the physical beauty that many people craved. Once in high school, I climbed to the number one spot in GPA, joined seven academic clubs (a few of which I hold leadership positions in), placed first in a public speaking competition, and placed first in an entrepreneurship and innovation contest covering 18 counties. I hope to graduate as valedictorian this year, and continue on to do the same years following. The thing that I love most from the success I have met this year as a freshman is the knowledge of where I was versus where I am now. Where you were born doesn’t have an impact on what you do and who you can be. Don’t fret over a specific image that some of society deems “beautiful”, as beauty lies within the eye of the beholder. While loving yourself is no easy task, the results of it change your perspective of both yourself and the world for the better. So be whoever you want to be, wear what you want, and don’t worry about what other people think or say. It’s not their body, so if they don’t like it, they can leave you to rock your look! Find support from the people you trust, and brave the world while looking forward, not back. Afterall, you are the only one who can spark the change that you wish to see.