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My brother and I were very few of the students who went to the school on bicycles. Although my brother is 3 years older than I, we both started going to the school on bikes together. It took us about 10 minutes to reach us school everyday, but when we raced it took just 5. It was a unique experience. Unlike any other child who was dropped and then picked from the school, I felt responsible and trusted by my parents. In fact, the morning ride on the bike, especially in winter fog, was very refreshing. I always felt more alert in my morning classes.
When I graduated to the 7th grade, I was put in a new class section according to my chosen O levels subjects. Right from the very 1st day two groups were naturally formed, one snobbish and the other relatively humble. Being a part of the later group, I was always the other group's prime target for practical jokes and humiliations; merely my coming to the school on a bike was viewed as substandard. Occasionally, at the end of the day I would find that someone had deflated the tires of my bike. Then I had to walk all the way home with my bike, a memory which, back then though brought my spirits down a great deal, now engenders a smile on my face. I was the only one amongst my group confined to within my group; everyone else was at least well acquainted, if not friends, with each other.
Although I made many friends within my group, I always desired to be friends with everyone in my class. That seemed so difficult then that I believed it to be impossible; I tried it many times, but always ended up getting embarrassed. Even more disappointing were the comments like 'go away and hang around with the kids of your type'. They never said it directly, but the implications alluded to my middleclass family. And this was even more obvious when, in my presence, they boasted of their cars which they drove themselves to school.
I admit it to some extent that I too started feeling inferior. It was only when I managed to debunk my belief of inferiority that I finally got assimilated within whole of my class. Just some cognition, a series of clever thoughts, and I figured it out. Before the class tests and the final exams, when teachers refused to give any hint about what questions would come in the tests, I helped my friends clear their concepts, solved questions for them and told them what to concentrate more on. Seeing more people encircled around me, the people, whom I thought hated me, joined me; I helped them wholeheartedly.
I gained wider acceptance when I got selected in my school football team. 8th grader and the youngest player in my school football team, I managed to help my class win some of the inter-class football matches with my free-kicks. They started loving me.
Things got even better when in 9th grade I made a website on my class. Designed on macromedia flash, my website showed brief profiles of all my class fellows. That website still never fails to bring memories back. All my friends mailed me their pictures. Some of them, who had never called me before, now even talked to me on the phone, discussing what to put in their profiles. I felt more than recognized. Then up till now, I call 'those people' my friends.
What I can call the culmination of my success of getting assimilated and recognized by class fellows, who once looked down on me are last year's school elections. I stood for the position of Sports Representative. That I won in the elections wasn't as surprising as the margin by which I won. Out of the 400 votes I got around 210 votes, 100 more votes than the 2nd highest votes-winner; a success which I attribute to my friends and my better acquaintance with everyone.
In retrospect, I realize my success. Even though now I have achieved recognition amongst my friends and school fellows, which once I believed I never could, the humble part of me is sill dominant in my personality. All these events developed my interest in human behavior psychology. Now not only do I understand other people better, but also I am more considerate towards them. I have become more observant, more empathetic and more thoughtful.