Friends are like buttons on an elevator--they can take you up or bring you down. Surround yourself with people who are like the person you want to become because you become like those with whom you surround yourself.

After elementary school, we moved to Sacramento, California, where I attended junior high school. Then we moved again while I was in high school. I was desperate for friends. I never gave a thought to who those friends were or what they acted like.

Unfortunately, I began hanging out with the "it's cool to be crude" crowd. Within one year after I joined this crowd, I started being rude to my dad and my stepmom.

I started swearing, smoking and getting stoned every day before school. My happy heart turned into a hard heart.

The weird thing is that I did not notice how much I had changed until I had a Kodak moment--a frozen glimpse in time when everything all of a sudden becomes clear. Stupid choices regarding friendships can change you into a person you don't want to be. However, good choices can change you into a better person than you ever dreamed possible. So choose friends wisely.

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