The Social Experiment


My day was like every other. It was a regular Thursday morning and it began as my mornings frequently do. I trudged into school and dreaded my hours ahead. A variety of tests awaited me in multiple hours, and by the look on my face, I’m sure I looked distressed and anxious for what was to come. My upcoming weekend was about to be full of stressful performances, but there was something that made my lousy day extraordinary; something that brought comfort and happiness to my never ending and stressful Thursday morning.

Walking into school that day, I noticed a small freshman girl holding the door open for all of the students slowly coming inside. As I passed her, I muttered a “thank you” and continued to my locker. But as I continued up the stairs, and through the halls, I began to think about what that small and considerate act of kindness meant to me.

That morning, I decided to conduct my own social experiment. All throughout my day, I decided to say thank you and show others that I care. In my 4th hour Spanish class, I thanked our substitute teacher, Senora Lun, for her dedication to understanding our worksheets and helping us review for our test. I thanked Mr. Lanning for another day of discussion about The Old Man and the Sea, and I thanked my teacher, Mr. George, as I dashed out of the room at the end of the day. I realized that by showing my thanks to teachers and students at FHC, my day was a lot less stressful and more happy, despite my high feelings of anxiety.

And not only did it just impact me, it also looked to have an impact on my teachers. I definitely got a few strange looks and uncertain glances; but overall, most of them smiled and seemed to be appreciative.

My mom has always said that actions speak louder than words. I am not saying that I didn’t understand it until now, but I am saying that it came into clarity over these past few days. Showing people how thankful and grateful you are is important.; it has been proven to make other people happier and have a long lasting impact.

This past weekend my mom and I traveled to Indianapolis for a big ballet competition. We stayed in a nice hotel, bought a lot of dance supplies, and she sat in a theatre almost the entire weekend. Although it was stressful, it was a genuinely good weekend with a lot of laughter and bonding. After this weekend, I felt an insane amount of gratitude and thankfulness for my mom.

Due to everything over the past few days, I have come to an amicable and astounding realization. The purpose of our lives is not to overstress about difficult things. The purpose of our lives is not to do what you can to make yourself happy. The purpose of our lives is to be helpful to those around us and to show our appreciation for others. Although it might not have a big impact on large groups of people, it could have made a big impact on one person and influence their day. We should be grateful to those around us and show our thanks and gratitude to them.

As quoted by Ralph Waldo Emerson; “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”