Fitting In…A Note To Angela

As my students began leaving my classroom today, I positioned myself at my desk with my laptop, preparing for my always anticipated lunch break. I took out my crackers and cottage cheese and began to stare at the screen of my laptop as if it were a magic mirror that could tell me what to write today. I enjoy expressing my thoughts and I usually have a lot to say. Yet I pondered, “What SHOULD I write today?” Then walked in my student “Angela”. She had returned to the classroom because she left her purse behind.

“What are you doing Dr. Jefferson?” “Oh I’m trying to learn how to blog Angela, but not sure about what to write today. “I have an idea”, said Angela. “Write about the food in the cafeteria!.” “Now that would be an interesting topic”, I replied as we both laughed. I shared with Angela that I wanted to write something involving education, especially with girls. “So what do you think is a good topic concerning girls in school?’ I asked.

“Write about fitting in.” “Well, tell me more about it”, I urged.

“Well”, continued Angela, “In middle school, it is hard to fit in and when you try to be yourself, kids turn against you”. “You are absolutely right”, I replied. “That is what I will write about Angela. Thank you so much for that idea.” “OK Dr. Jefferson. Have a great day!” “You too Angela”.

After Angela left, I sat in silence for a while. I am not a middle school girl. But I do remember middle school being a very awkward experience for me as well. Trying to fit in was like trying to find my way out of the wilderness of a natural park without a map. Yes it happened to me once and I was scared and confused! Trying to navigate middle school can also leave a young girl lost, scared, and feeling alone. How do girls counter awkwardness in middle school? Is the fear even necessary?

My Note to Angela–

Dear Angela,

Did you know that being awkward is being unique ? Ask Oprah Winfrey, Harriet Tubman, Cicely Tyson or even me! All brave women were once afraid of being different. When you come to understand that you are not different, but was born TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, there will be no need to fear anything or anyone.

Fitting in means that you are ordinary so you don’t necessarily stand out. Now being ordinary too, is not a bad thing, but ordinary girls seldom make history!

Love Always—-Dr. JDiva

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