Work Hard. But what about nice?


There are 516 seniors that have been in the district since Kindergarten.

Reilly Martens, Guest Contributor

Awkward. You just made eye contact with that girl you used to be friends with in seventh grade. Get out your phone as a distraction so you don’t have to say hi. Except now there’s a whole group of people you used to hang out with freshman year. Even more awkward. Or is it? Are these situations really that awkward? Or are you just making them out to be awkward?

In more than three years of high school, I can tell you that these moments occur everyday. People you knew in middle school, the new guy you met the other day in class, or the person you were best friends with in class the previous year have suddenly become  strangers. There seems to be this unspoken rule that if you’re not close friends with someone, it’s not okay to make eye contact, smile, and especially not engage in small talk. Because you don’t know if that person even likes you. I mean they could think you’re weird or a loser, or worse yet they could downright hate you. So why would you make the effort to acknowledge them? That’s too much effort… but is it really?

It’s not that hard. It doesn’t take that much effort. It’s normal to have that fear of rejection or appearing like a loser, but that’s probably not going to happen. The worse thing that will likely happen is that they don’t smile back. So what? You go back to your day and they go back to theirs. This notion of avoidance is getting in the way of students social etiquette and doesn’t correlate with our school motto which is “Work Hard. (AND) Be Nice.”

All you need to do when you see that acquaintance in the hallway is smile. Then look away. Keep walking to your class. That’s it. You don’t have to hug them or follow them on Instagram, it was a simple smile. Now you have acknowledged their presence and shown them a sign of respect. If they return the smile then even better. Future contact will be so much easier and you won’t have that weird tension of wondering whether you should be friendly or not.

If the situation allows it, try to spark up a conversation with that person. Whether you’re in the cafeteria line or both happen to be drying your hands in the restroom at the same time, make small talk. Just a “hello” or “hey, how’s your day going?” can improve a person’s day much more than you would expect. You never know what people are going through, and having someone that cares or just wants to know how they are doing could mean a lot to them.

Written out, these things seem like common sense don’t they? But in the hallways and classrooms they can become a daily struggle. At first it may seem intimidating to put yourself out there. But by the end of the day, you will be glad to have done it.