LIMERICK, Ireland — Thick gold chains, large hoop earrings, multiple diamante rings; jewelry is, of course, an essential accessory for every teenage girl. After all, who doesn’t love the “bling bling” style of today’s youth? Well, teachers, of course!
For me, being forced to wear a standard navy uniform going to school every day decreases my sense of individuality, and makes me feel far too conformed. So at the
beginning of my first year in the school, I thought to myself, ‘What can I do to express my personality, without breaking any school rules?’
The answer came to me in a pair of silver hoop earrings.
After a few weeks of wearing only minimal jewelry to school, I felt it was safe to test the waters first by wearing a slightly thicker, and more jeweled necklace over my school jumper. No one seemed to take much notice, though walking through the halls one day, the vice-principal spotted me and told me nicely to tuck my chain into my jumper. I did so, only removing it when she was totally out of sight.
The next week I upgraded to an even more stylish and “blingin’” necklace, and added my hoop earrings. These brought me a little more attention, with many teachers telling me to tuck in my necklace, and an occasional few making me take out my earrings.
They couldn’t punish me though, because the prohibition of excessive jewelry is nowhere to be found in the school rules.
My ‘in-school’ jewelry collection now stands, two years later, at a thick silver chain, several dangly bracelets, large hoop earrings, as well as a diamante-studded earring, and many sparkly diamond rings.
Often, new teachers dislike me at first sight.
When they see so much noticeable and often eccentric jewelry, they expect a cheeky, attention-seeking girl. It’s only after teaching me for awhile that they notice I am quite shy, and I do my work without drawing much awareness to myself.
By now, all of them have managed to look beyond the “bling bling” and see the hard-working student. By this, I hope I’ve taught some of them not to judge a book by its cover!
Loud, unconventional and expressive jewelry is my one fetish, and it is something that I won’t change for any teacher. It is my way of conveying my uniqueness in a school of conformity and cloning.
I have learned how to survive high school, in the most “bling bling” of ways!
Marese Heffernan is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.