Embracing your Differences

Amelia (right) as part of a panel during a Sixth Form-led assembly


By Amelia, Year 13

Last week, I spoke to the Year 7 and 8s about the importance of embracing your differences and being proud of others for who they are.

We found, as you might expect, that there were many differences. So, let’s do a little experiment…

  • Could you please put your hand up if you are bilingual?
  • Could you please raise your hand if you were not born in the North East of England? 
  • Finally, could you please put up your hand if you travelled to school on the bus this morning.

I understand that these questions are fairly random and surface level, but I think it is important to appreciate the small details before looking at the bigger picture of topics such as race, sexual orientation, religion and so on. Even within our two-year groups, we are all so diverse.

Over lockdown, I had a lot of time to think, as I’m sure you did too, and it got me wondering. What does it mean to be different? The dictionary may give me the definition of “not the same as another or each other; unlike in nature, form, or quality” but I believe it is so much more than that.

On a global scale there are currently 71 disabilities, 63 genders, 4 major races and on average 270 religious’ groups in the world, with a growing population of almost 8 billion. The LGBTQIA+ community is continuously changing, an obvious addition being the ‘I and A’ meaning intersexual and asexual. My talk today may only touch upon a few topics, but I hope you can see how vital it is to not only look inwards at your own life but outwards at the wider world.

A couple of years ago I decided to do something, and this thing was dying my hair ginger. Yes, I know orange isn’t my colour, but I wasn’t ashamed to give a go. Even when I knew I’d look ‘different’ I didn’t mind it and thought it looked quite cool.  

However, what eventually made me dislike the way I looked was continuous comments such as “Your hair looks awful” making me feel insecure, so I eventually dyed it back. The reason I feel so passionately about this subject is because so many people can’t simply ‘dye it back.’ So many people across the globe are made to feel embarrassed about their “differences” which actually make them special and unique.

So why not embrace them? I know its so much easier said than done, but if we choose to uplift others and support their choices rather than batter them down and give criticism, then we too will hopefully feel happier about our choices and the way we are.  

So, I’d like you to do one thing for me today. If you see someone and think they look great, tell them, If your friend has just aced their test, congratulate them, and if your family has achieved something amazing, tell them that you’re proud of them. It’s really that simple!