This summer, in an email to the high school, Upper Division Head Dr. Jessica Levenstein strongly discouraged students and faculty from using their cell phones on campus, outlining the new cell phone policy that takes effect this year. While some might see it as an unnecessary and imposing measure, we think that these new expectations will bring needed change to the culture of our school. In past years, it was easy to walk through the hallways, focused on our screens, not acknowledging our peers and teachers. Hopefully this year, things will be different.
While it is ideal for changes to come from students through a shift in mindset, sometimes important changes need to be enforced and implemented by a governing body, which in this case is the school administration. See the good in these enforced expectations instead of only noting any perceived inconveniences the cell phone policy might place upon you. Too often, phones are an excuse to not greet old friends in hallways or start making new ones in the library. So now that you and your classmates won’t be on your phones in the hallways, take the time to say ‘hi’ to people around you and start impromptu conversations.
And take it a step further. Don’t just say ‘hi’ to people: say ‘hi’ to new people. This is not only relevant for juniors and seniors who often are content with their existing friends, but also for ninth graders coming from the middle school. It’s great to be content with your current friends, but that shouldn’t inhibit you from making fantastic new ones. Let your classes, clubs and teams be a starting point for finding common ground and becoming close with those who you haven’t yet gotten to know well. A culture in which everyone looks down rather than around is an uninviting and antisocial one. It’s a new year. So, look up from your phones and see the opportunity in front of you.