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INTOTHEBEST, Inc. Scholarship Semifinalist Randall A. Neal

Congratulations to Randall A. Neal from Sherando High School
Randall A. Neal
It was difficult selecting 8 semifinalists from 1,500 applications. There were many strong essays.

Randall's Essay: Popularity or Respect?

I dressed up extra nice one day to impress a girl. A few guys ragged on me for embarrassing myself in front of her later. This desire for being liked hit us pretty hard in sixth grade and we still have it. We're seniors now. However, I think it is more worthwhile to be respected then liked.

All throughout my middle school years, I was jealous of the "in crowd." I was shy and didn't talk much but yet I wondered why I couldn't be popular like them. I wanted to fit in, be invited over to parties, to people's houses, know of all rumors going around school, etc. However, when it came down to it I was just too shy. Until eighth grade when I "broke out of my shell" and became the "class clown." Then I became part of the "in crowd." Then one day, a "nerd" came up and started talking to us and the rest of them completely ignored him. I went over and starting joking around with him. One of the "in crowd" girls asked me what I was doing. I told her that if they were going to be like that, they could stop talking to me too. I wasn't going to be a part of their "clique" anymore. Why be part of a group that excludes people? One of which that was excluding my best friend. That's when I decided respect was more important then being liked. Instead of going around like everyone else trying to gain popularity, I tried to gain people's respect. I'm still my outgoing, goofy self but if somebody doesn't like me I don't worry about it. By gaining my peers respect, a lot of them look up to me now and not because I'm popular. By gaining my teachers respect, they help me out if I come by after class, give me advice, and our there if I need them.

I'm glad I chose the way of respect rather than popularity. In school, I see people trying to become popular and then hear rumors going around school that end up ruining their reputation. One minute you could be the top of the social life and the next someone could spread a false rumor about you and everyone could look down on you. I know some people that I have tried to kill themselves over that. That's really sad, because highschool popularity doesn't really mean anything. It means the world to some people but the people that actually believe in the false rumors wouldn't be a true friend. That's why I believe respect is more important than being liked.

How IntotheBest's Essay Advice Helped Randall

INTOTHEBEST's "Essay Advice" pointed out that you should remain on topic and even though you may have a lot of things to say, keep it to yourself and don't get off track. This was a good point, because I did and I tended to get off track.

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