Using Your Influence For Good

Using Your Influence For Good

Elizabeth Robbins and Azriel Watson

In middle school, there is normally a hierarchy. The 8th graders are normally at the top, 7th in the middle, and 6th at the bottom. There are also hierarchy’s within each grade. There are normally the “popular” kids, and the “less popular” kids. The “popular” kids normally have a lot of influence over the other kids. They usually set the norms for the rest of the kids. This is because peers listen to other peers better. During COVID-19 and virtual school times, this hierarchy seemed to disappear. We are seeing in our school that 6th and 8th graders are good friends, which didn’t normally happen before. 

Social media challenges are making people who previously used their influence for good, use it for bad. There are close to monthly challenges, some of them including Devious Lick (stealing large things from school), Slap a Teacher, and many more. Teens, kids, and adults are participating and are getting hurt. These things are going on permanent records. This is giving kids influence and legacies that they might not want. 

We asked some 8th graders what kind of legacy they want to leave behind. 8th grader Jameson F. describes his legacy that he wants to leave behind as “somebody that everyone knew who was a funny, caring person, and  who always cared for people and helped people when they needed it. I want people to talk about me when I leave this school as someone who was friends with everybody and who could always make somebody’s day, and who really knew everyone and helped people through hard times in their lives.” 8th grader Mya H. describes her legacy that she wants: “I want to leave behind a legacy of being a dependable person that people can rely on. I do my best to always be there for my friends when they need someone to talk to and when they’re having a hard time.” This legacy is a fantastic one to leave behind. Even if you are a “popular” person, you can use your influence for good. You can use your influence to create a better environment for everyone. 

You can also use your influence to support what you believe in. An anonymous 8th grader said “I can use my influence to make a legacy by making people aware that we can still save the earth and help it before it’s not possible anymore.” They have influence, and they know that they can help change the earth with that influence. 

Overall, popularity doesn’t mean that you have to be rude or stuck up. You can connect with the people around you, and make sure that you can use the influence from your “popularity” for good. You can connect with people who you don’t normally, and have them help you in supporting the cause to use your influence for good.