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Hariklica Bezhani                                                                                  Short Biography

My name is Hariklica Bezhani.  A lot of people think of it as an unusual name!  It’s a Greek name; however, I came from an Albanian background.  I was born in Albania, a small place close to the Greek border where people spoke Greek.  When I was five, I moved to Greece and lived there for almost nine years before I came here.  Four years have passed since I came to America.  I came for a better education as my parents say, yet it seems that I have spent my whole life in Brooklyn.


Madison was the school that I attended after Marine Park.  I made friends, met people from different countries and learned a lot about cultures from all around the world.  I am a very athletic person; I love sports.  Sports are my life; therefore, I joined the girls’ volleyball team and have been a member since my sophomore year.  I wanted to join more teams; however, practices were all at the same time and I couldn’t do everything at once.  I wanted to get involved in more things because a person gets to be a part of something and make new friends when they join activities.  Therefore, I joined the Spring Musical during my junior year.  I also became a mediator and started helping people solve their conflicts.  Now in my senior year, I am in Sing.  I got to make new friends and got to be around my old friends.  I also learned a lot about acting, singing, and dancing which I am really interested in doing in the future.


I love Madison.  Some of the best moments of my life I have had here--having all these great classes, making all these friends, learning who I am and what I am interested in. Madison has all kinds of great programs and activities for everybody!

Hariklica Bezhani                                                                                  College Now Essay

Is it necessary to know how to “play the game” in order to succeed in life?  What does “playing the game” really mean?  Playing the game means pretending, lying, cheating, stealing or even “kissing butt.”  It is also known as conning. Some people might think that it is the only way; therefore, they go along with it.  Others go against that idea because they feel that conning is not a way to success, and others are even forced to go along with it.


People con one another every day for whatever reason.  They cheat, scam, swindle, dupe, and deceive others.  They have witnessed it and experienced it as well.  I have witnessed it; I’ve done it; I’ve also been a victim of it.  I remember back in first grade, the person who I thought was my best friend turned out to be the opposite.  I thought we had so many things in common and that we were real friends because we used to spend a lot of time together and tell each other secrets.  I trusted her; however, I was wrong.  That was probably the biggest mistake because she used to talk to people behind my back.  We used to talk about people that we couldn’t stand and others that we hated.  She told all of them how I felt about them; therefore, they turned against me.  She also put words in my mouth and turned everything I had said to something negative so others would hate me and become my enemies.  I don’t know why she did what she did, but I sure didn’t like it.  I’m not against conning; however, I’m not for it either.  In some situations, for example “kissing butt” in classes in order to get a better grade, is often accepted.  When a person is conned, the way my friend did to me, it is not acceptable because it truly hurts somebody’s feelings.


“Miss USA,” an interview of Emma Knight written by Studs Terkel, explains how people see the outside of things to be perfect, and how from the inside it is all corrupted.  It is true that for some people, their American Dream is to have a title such as “Miss USA,” to have a lot of money, to live a life of luxury, and to be someone that other people idolize.  However what it is shown to be everything a person might want is actually the opposite—a life that most people would not want at all.  The reality is that these winners often pretend to be everything they always wanted to be, but they are actually miserable.  Miss USA had to live her life as a lie. It looked like she was living a great life; however, everything that she was doing was just for show.  Everyday when she would wake up, she would know that she would con people.  The audience, for example, thought that she loved her life, and that everything that was being shown was true. She was also being conned because she did only what others told her to do, so basically she has no control over her life.  Despite the fact that she had to con others, she actually had to con herself by lying to herself pretending to be someone she was not.  “I’m feeling awkward and ugly,” she said, yet she was Miss USA, a beauty queen.  She conned herself because she felt that she was not beautiful, yet she still went through with the pageant, and didn’t quit. 


Right after she was announced as Miss USA, she had to sign a contract, which she wouldn’t even get the chance to read completely.  The next morning when she woke up, she had to wear a negligee and eat breakfast in bed.  Of course that was for the newspaper picture and to show the people what a great life she had; however, the reality was that she didn’t actually do that.  She let people control her life.  Basically she was forced to because they were paying for her; therefore, she had to act in a certain way.  The way she was told how to “play the game” for example, was by putting a smile on her face any time she would be in front of a crowd. “They wanted to shut me up,” she said, meaning that she couldn’t have a mind of her own.  She was forced to “shut up” and just smile. At last, however, when they announced the new Miss USA, she conned the world by rubbing her nose.  “The sting,” as they called it, meant that the con was on, and that everything was phony.


“Miss USA” was considered to be “perfect;” however, the only thing she was judged upon was her beauty.  The judges didn’t even consider the fact that she might be smart.  Only her body and her looks got her the title.  She became an idol for a lot of people just because of her figure and looks.  People held high opinions of her; even though, they didn’t know her.  People based their judgments on her appearance. 


We are judged by the way we look.  If we have good looks, people think of us in a positive way.  However, if we are ugly, they often think of us in a negative way and make it impossible for us to fit into their group.  Let’s face it, if a good looking woman auditions for an acting part and she doesn’t have as much talent for it, she might get the role.  This would probably be just the opposite for an ugly, talented woman auditioning for the same part.  “The looking glass self,” a theory of Charles Horton Cooley, helps to explain how we begin to get a feeling of self-origin through our interactions with others.  This gives us a definite image of ourselves.  “We imagine how we are judged by others,” according to Cooley, and “We experience a feeling or some type of reaction.”  This means that if we don’t look a certain way that society expects us to look—sexy, showing cleavage, etc.—society’s expectations put pressure on us.  That is often why many women suffer from eating disorders.  This is also why people have plastic surgery, which costs thousands of dollars.  When we look in the looking glass, we feel we need to see what others expect us to look like.


Television also influences us.  All of the hot stars such as Britney Spears have sexy, perfect bodies and good looks.  People try to look like her and other stars like her.  We sometimes even act differently in order to fit in, like a child seeking attention.  According to Cooley, “When we meet a new person, we want to make a strong impression and awaken a desire to interest and please this person.”  Michael Jackson, another example, was very famous in a positive way.  People loved him.  However he didn't think that he was perfect enough; therefore, he started having many plastic surgeries and destroyed himself and his image.  Michael Jackson and Miss USA both tried to change themselves to fit the image the public expected. While Michael Jackson surgically changed his appearance, Miss USA changed her ethics and beliefs in order to fit the image.


“Salvation,” a story by Langston Hughes, explains how people con each other.  Langston was waiting to be saved by Jesus, see the light, and hear the voices, as he was told he would; however, he didn’t because “…he (Jesus) didn’t come” as he said.  “I wanted something to happen to me, but nothing happened,” Langston stated, meaning that he wanted to be saved but Jesus wouldn’t come.  He then lied about the fact that Jesus saved him, just so he wouldn’t have to keep the people waiting there in church. He, in other words, conned them.  He did , however, regret the fact that he had to do it because of the fact that he cried in his bed that same night.  He “played the game;” however, he regretted it. 


Miss USA, Emma Knight, and Langston in “Salvation” are similar in that both of them had to play the game in order to succeed in life.  Miss USA had to play the game in order to keep her fame, and Langston had to play the game in order to make people think that he was saved and not to create a bad name for himself in front of the others.  However, Miss USA, at the end conned the world by rubbing her nose; therefore she didn’t really go along with it.  However, Langston Hughes went along with it because he couldn’t tell the truth about the fact that he hadn’t been saved by Jesus.  Some people are forced to play the game.  They can either go along with it, as seen in the story “Salvation,” or fight it in the end, as seen in “Miss USA.” 


The streets that we walk on,

The ones that cry out fear at night,

With the street lights watching our every move,

Shining their dim light upon us,

Revealing every little secret,

With the cars passing by like oars paddling in a river,

With the uncaring drivers pretending to see a picture full of roses,

Clouds follow us and drown us in the pouring rain,

Trees that scream don’t,

But far down in the horizon the rainbow

Makes us keep going because

Brooklyn is the future,

Brooklyn is our lives

                                                                  - Hariklica Bezhani