09/20/2011 01:07 pm ET Updated Dec 04, 2011

Everyone Has Something They're Keeping Inside

As I go to start my fourth year of high school, something hits me. This will not only be my last year in this school. It will also be my first full year of school without my mother around to guide me. You see, my mother passed away from cancer in November 2010, near the end of my first semester of my junior year. That means this year takes on a whole new meaning for me. That means, in some ways, I feel like I have already graduated.

As I walked down the hall, this thought lead to another one: if half the people in this school have no idea what I've been through, what could have happened to them? When you've gone through something terrible, you start to think about these things. And this leads to my final point: you really can't judge people you don't know. Now, when you see a person, you automatically make a mental idea of them in their head from how they're dressed, who they hang out with, and what they say in that first 20-second conversation. But the problem with high schools is that people let this become their final opinion of the person. Now, I'm not above this. I could list countless people that I've never spoken more than five minutes to, and yet I feel entitled to having an opinion of them. But as I walked down those halls, I looked again and I saw something else in these people. Regret. Heartache. Loneliness. Awkwardness. Embarrassment. Fear. So many times we walk through life faking a smile so no one will know that we're upset. So that we will seem perfectly normal. But what is normal in today's society? If 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, is it normal to be the child of a broken marriage? If so, then I don't want to be normal, because in reality, no one truly is. No one is as simple as they seem or as complicated as they try to be. When it comes down to it, everyone has something they're keeping inside at school, whether it's a bad break up, a pregnancy, family problems, insomnia, stress, bulimia, or in my case, a death in the family.

So why do we try to be normal? Why do we put on these false facades until the end of the school day, then go home to face our demons? Why can't we all be 100 percent honest 100 percent of the time? Well unfortunately, society may not be ready for people to be completely honest all the time, at least not yet. Perhaps one day we will reach that point, but for now everyone can do one thing. When you walk down that hallway tomorrow, look again. You may just be surprised what you can see.