You look around the library and find your spot. 3 tables over, 2 back, and chair angled toward the center. Sheldon Cooper would be proud of you. Your typical study hall accomplices give you a head nod of a greeting as you plop into your seat. This is your routine, and sooner or later, the habits you make are just second nature.
Every cheesy piece of high-school advice says something sugarcoated about stretching yourself, meeting new people, and developing friendships before you graduate. (That date is beginning to creep in for the Class of 2015… yikes). Yet, here I sit at that perfect spot, with my headphones in, typing away, stuck in my own little world of solidarity for 45 minutes. I look around the MC and see students doing the same.
It’s one thing to have to cram for that big Spanish test, finish the hundreds of vocab questions for sophomores, and work on that massive paper that is looming over every junior’s head. Yet, I feel like we all could use a little break from work every once in awhile.
During a 5th period study hall, I was chugging along with my music in. Senior Caroline Baum, a Student Ambassador, brought Romarin Ngapouth to our table. Ngapouth is a new student from Cameroon. At first, I greeted him, and then tried to do the “one-earbud-in-one-out” listening technique. (You know the struggle I’m talking about).
Romarin looked wide-eyed at fellow senior Caroline Marnin and myself as we talked about state cross country. He was baffled at how quickly we could spill off fluent English. We laughed about it and tried teaching him more English. He told us he could speak French and was taking Spanish classes at AHS. Soon enough, we were speaking English, (very poor) French, and Spanish.
The mood of the study hall changed completely and I was so excited to have a different kind of exchange. By the end of the period, I was laughing and realized that I had somehow put my headphones back into my bag without even noticing.
I’m guilty of this offense way too often, but sit at a new table sometime. If that seems too scary of a step for you at this time, pull your headphones out of your ears. In this “plugged in” society, it is easy to get carried away in our own little worlds. Make time for your work, but it’s also important to make time for conversation, even if it is in very, very, poor French.