To Save A Life

I recently watched the movie titled, “To Save A Life” and it made me realize how important social interaction is to a person’s own life. This movie is about a teenage boy who is a senior in high school and what he has to deal with on a social and emotional level. The movie starts out with the main character, Jake, having it all. He is the most popular kid in school, has the best looking girl friend, and is the sports star. His world soon comes crumbling down when tragedy strikes with his best childhood friend committing suicide in the middle of the hall at his school. Jake soon learns that his friend chose to do this because he believed that he didn’t have anything to live for. This movie focuses on the struggles that some kids have with fitting in, making friends, and feeling accepted while going through their high school years.

It is very interesting to think about the social pressures placed on kids while growing up. Society, especially high school society, has built up expectations that many people believe all students should strive for on a social level. This mainly means that kids should try to fit it with the “normal” or “popular” crowds. If a student doesn’t seem to fit the social norm of that specific society then he is cast out among his fellow peers and looked at as being “weird” or “different”. This causes pressure to be placed on teenage kids and a lot of the time can create extreme depression or social out lashing by these children.

Throughout the movie, Jake challenges these social norms that his high school peers have came to follow and reaches out to his troubled peers. He tries to change this idea of one student being better than another just because he or she has more friends or is more athletic or more popular. This idea of a new way of viewing people by who they really are and not what they look like can not only be used and taught to students in our schools but also can be used in our overall society today.

Personally, I hear more and more about teenagers committing suicide each year due to the fact that they don’t feel like they belong. This not only has affected me on a personal level but it also affects the entire community in which it happens. I have been out of high school for some time now but I still see this judgment of many people in my day-to-day life and it’s strictly because someone looks or even acts different from what society has perceived as “normal”. A lot of people have said, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” but how many people can actually say that they follow this saying. I’m not saying that I’m perfect and I don’t judge but if you actually sit back and think about how your actions, or lack or actions, can affect someone, well it’s somewhat scary. When all is said and done society can’t change overnight but there are certain things that we can do to start this new sense of change, not only in our schools but also in our everyday lives.

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2 Responses to To Save A Life

  1. michaelflatt says:

    In what ways do these social pressures intersect with race, ethnicity, gender, age, or sexual orientation? Are there groups of people who might experience “more” pressure as a result of the group membership/demographic characteristics?

  2. AP says:

    1) I want to comment that I think the author of this post accidentally made a very good point. It is not only how our actions affect the lives of others; it is also how our lack of action affects those lives. We, as a society, need to commit to standing up and speaking out when we see something that should not be happening. Inaction is the same as agreeing.

    2) In response to what Mr. Flatt has asked, I would wager that the individuals who fall within the intersections on the Venn Diagram of “Outliers in Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Age, and Sexual Orientation” would face the most pressure. For instance, an African-American homosexual teen, or an elderly transgendered individual may feel the most pressure to defy who they are for who they feel they should be based on society’s interpretation of “normal.”

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