A smile is worth thousand A’s

Sabrina Suen, Opinion Editor

It’s so easy to go through high school with blinders on. When it seems like there is an endless list of things I have to do, CROs to write, speeches to annotate, calculus to wrack my brain over, I often get so wrapped up in my own tunnel vision that I feel like a zombie, an emotionless being, going through the motions of life, yet feeling very little of the warmth and passion that comes with it. There is simply always too much to do and too little time to do it.

I walk through the halls with the sole purpose of reaching a destination. The conversations of friends and classmates that reverberate off the walls feel like the mindless buzzing of bees to me. The people that brush past me are not people, but a tornado of colors and fabric that stand between me and my next class.

It gets exhausting after a while, walking the same halls, seeing the same people, and harboring only the anxiety of the test, quiz or lecture that awaits at my destination. So when a familiar face occasionally escapes from the storm and cuts into my narrow consciousness with a smile and a friendly “hey!” I’m usually startled.

I’m startled not because I do not welcome the greeting, but because it momentarily stops the tornado. In that small moment, I’m reminded of my humanity. Sometimes at school it feels like I’m waging a solo war, be it against tests, homework, teachers or the College Board.

It is not unusual to feel alone and like the world is ending. But this seemingly insignificant, minute interaction reminds me that there is a life beyond the four walls of this school. And for a fraction of time, I can forget about the sense of impending doom and ravish in a brief second of laughter.

So this thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the gentle smile of a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, the kind wave of an old teacher, and the simple acknowledging nod of a near stranger. These are the kinds of human interactions that tether my sanity in this whirling abyss of math problems, AP tests and band rehearsals. And for that, I’m endlessly grateful.