Syndel D., Class of 2023

An idea that I have always questioned is that of the word normal. I was watching a TikTok a few years back about a girl who questioned the meaning of the letter “s” and how making words plural can make all the difference to someone’s life. This sparked the question for me of the true meaning of normal. Normal is a word I have always tried to shy away from. For one reason, it can lead to a never ending spiral of more and more questions. What is normal? What are the requirements to be qualified as this normal? Who chooses if you are this, or how you become it? Average, typical, expected. You are expected to be this normal. You put on a persona to fit this category, and for what? For assurance you belong, or for the satisfaction of meeting the only average standards. 

The dictionary definition of this word is, “conforming to a standard or pattern.”  

I don’t conform to that because there are so many things about me that are different. An example of something in my life is the idea of having both parents.  Mom and dad, normal. Just mom, just dad, outcast. Parents over parent is a strong example of something considered to be normal. Even Google spell check tries to correct parent into parents, because having two parents is ideal. This idea is meaningful to me because my whole life has revolved around my desire to be like everyone else. I now know that this isn’t a realistic possibility–it’s just a social expectation with no real basis for meaning. I want to help individuals, particularly kids, recognize that being different is perfectly okay. 

In college, I hope to pursue a career that focuses on helping kids like me cope with their struggles. I want to be the person to kids that I wish I had. No one should have to feel unwanted because they have a different life then their classmates.

Normal isn’t something I can hide from; but I can choose to ignore it somewhat. I am learning to accept the fact that I will never be someone else’s definition of perfect or normal. Normal is a mindset. Normal has neither been true nor will ever be true. Normal is an imaginary standard that has become so systematic over time. 

Thinking about all of these things has changed my outlook on so many things in my life. I now do things because I want to do them, not to meet anyone else’s standards. I look forward to progressing in my life, and I’m eager to help make a change in societal standards. As such, when I enroll in school next year, I plan to concentrate my studies on the mental health of children and one day I will become a mental health counselor social worker for kids. Regardless to what I end up doing, making a change in the world is most important to me.