ISOLATION IS DESOLATION
In the new school year, it is more common for students to not say hi to the person they’re sitting next to.
Another year here at Greenway High School where green runs gold and pours into the hearts and minds of our youth, all gathered at a place where the future can thrive and students can aim high in life. With that comes another year full of so much potential: getting good grades, joining clubs and sports, but how about friends? What is high school without friends? All of these things correlate and divide into one not-so-simple question; What is High school?
By definition, a high school is a required attendance of school after middle school that consists of grades 9-12th, but the concept of high school is something far more complex. We all understand the reasons students spend eight hours a day for five days a week at this common ground: to become further educated. School offers the opportunity to become successful and live life to our own accord. It is an experience full of life lessons. It is our support system, our memories, and our goals that stem from high school. And yet, we aren’t taught everything, or at least what we should know. Although we learn in a social environment, we aren’t taught to communicate because it’s expected to be something we’ve come to have already learned, but that isn’t always the case.
In the new school year, it is more common for students to not say hi to the person they’re sitting next to. As to why that is….
“The reason why I don’t say hi to the person I’m sitting next to is because I don’t know them and when I try to get to know them they aren’t always the kindest people. I question myself as to why I should try to be nice and say hi only to be let down, and so I’d rather not step out of my comfort zone especially when I’ve already made friends,” Autumn Wilson said.
“In a lot of my classes there will be three other kids in my group and no one says a word for the remainder of the class period every day and in some of my other classes, it’s the same thing. We sit there and don’t talk. They’d rather be on their phones than ask a simple: ‘Hey, how are you?’ No one asks or cares to ask anymore. There can bad conversationalists that have no idea what to say and instead ask of what to talk about. Technology is a strong influence plus people are scared.”
The fact of the matter is when you have a group of people that are uncompelled to attempt to talk to another, perhaps they all feel the exact same way. This may result in the possibility of receiving a simple greeting slim to none, which is quite unfortunate.
There is plenty of reasons that contribute to why a student chooses to not say hi, such as social anxiety, over thinking, and turning to social media as a substitute for socializing and cultivating relationships.
Additionally, there is the matter of personal preference. Students choose who they want to associate themselves with and are content with their choices. However, that does not discount the limitations we willingly set for ourselves by restricting opportunities to meet new people and cultivate personal relationships.
Do you think that people not talking to each other is an issue?
‘It’s not necessarily an apathy or a disinterest in people, it’s a personal defense mechanism such as not wanting to be approached until approached because it’s easier to defend myself than to stick my neck out and have it handed to me. It can be difficult coming into the school year when everyone has developed their patterns of friendships and you’ve come to learn not to trust because when being too opened with people it tends to gets us burned. Until an individual feels safe they will continue to protect themselves because it’s a lot better to be safe than sorry. I can’t speak for everybody, but I think individuals want to have friendships and not be alone. Nobody wants to be ridiculed, so they’d rather sacrifice friendship over the possibility of being ridiculed. People have a hard time extending themselves because it’s a safety factor and cracking those barriers can be difficult on either side of the story, but it’s natural to be afraid. It’s more a matter of who’s less afraid. Nobody likes being rejected whether it’s love relationships or friend relationships but it takes time, practice, and courage to make those things happen.
“It can be, I guess it’s just personal preference. A lot of people already have friends and everybody always has their own little group, but then there are those who don’t have their group. There are times that I want to be outgoing but the problem is I just don’t know how and if I do I’ll be judged.”
“I think we need to learn how to be more involved with other students. I don’t want to invade someone’s space, so I settle and I’m sure that’s how a lot of people feel when it comes to making friends. I like having my friends, but I think people do need to make new friends. I think people are scared and don’t want to go out of their comfort zone.”
Sarah Ann Goree–
“I think it’s a big issue and It happens because we don’t take the time to appreciate each other and there are judgments made on appearance. I’ve noticed that a kid could go and try to say hi but then they’re stared at in a weird way and asked ‘Why are you talking to me? I don’t want to talk to you.'”
Students can become left out of social groups or they can make their own decision to be left out because they don’t know how to communicate with their peers and choose not to risk stepping out of one’s comfort zone.
Social status, number of followers, likes on a selfie, and the large-scale of friends one can have are unnecessarily valued. A small group of friends that accept us and love us for who we are and who we aspire to be should be obtainable to everyone, it’s only if we allow ourselves to have it that can determine the outcome.
What is your opinion on social status?
“Social status, I think, is stupid. Who cares how cool you are because it’s not going to matter in the long run. Being popular should be about including everyone and not because of superior beliefs.”
“Oh my gosh, I hate that (the food chain of social status). In every single grade of high school, there’s the “cool kids, popular kids, and the shy kids.”
“I think social status is kind of ridiculous because it just hurts people.”
What does the word stereotype mean to you?
“Judging people by the way they look or act.”
“It’s basically making a judgment of someone before even knowing them. People stereotype about what they see, not what they know and I think labels have become what defines people because people are no longer judged by their personality and are now exactly seen as labels.”
“It’s making an assumption off of what is based around something.”
Alicia Davis and Alex Robinson–
“Ideas that have been conceived by ignorant opinions.”
“-Based on something you’ve heard from other people.”
“The reasons why I haven’t made the effort to make friends is because the majority of Greenway has their own groups and if I say hi I’m afraid I’ll be rejected.”
It is justifiable yet so incomprehensible. Students want to reach out and make friends, but instead, we shelter ourselves as a defense mechanism out of fear of not being good enough or the inability to be our genuine selves and feel accepted by others. There are many beautiful and unique shades to people than one might never know as we pass each other in the halls without a clue as to who we are.
A few words of advice from your fellow Demons
“My advice to all people is to not take yourself so seriously, we don’t break and if we don’t make a friend we’ll still be okay. It doesn’t make us a bad person and it doesn’t make them a bad person because not everyone can be your friend, but at the same time, we have to be able to say I gave it a shot. In order to gain friendship, you have to give friendship whether you are extroverted or introverted.”
“It might be easier to be alone but I think friendship is something definitely worth fighting for and having. We’ve all done it but you should definitely be the person to say hi and try because it’s better to be the person to smile than the one who didn’t smile back, so be friendly and make friends that can back you up.”
“Try to find people and make friends and always be yourself.”
Alicia Davis and Alex Robinson–
“Everyone needs at least one friend.”
“Give it your shot, what’s the worst that could happen, just start out small and give yourself credit for at least making the effort.”