The Tam News

EDITORIAL: Isolation

Staff

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You can probably relate to that uncomfortable moment when your teacher tells you to choose your own partners for a project.

A silent search ensues as the teacher keeps talking; you strive to make eye contact in hopes of establishing a partnership. Your search fails as everyone who meets your glance gestures to somebody else. You’re the odd one out after the frenzied picking. It’s not an enjoyable place to be.

Every high school student has experienced this type of isolation. But for some Tam students, such isolation is a daily struggle, one that is more than just awkward and unfortunate: it’s painful. The constant feeling of seclusion becomes omnipresent in the lives of some students who fall through the social cracks at Tam.

Tam prides itself on its relative lack of cliques and its open friend groups. While this generalization is mostly true – Tam is free of the kind of rigid hierarchal social pyramid seen in something like “Mean Girls” – and while people at Tam aren’t socially exclusive, they aren’t actively inclusive, either.

It is rare to see friend groups making the effort to befriend someone they don’t normally associate with. As such, students who are less inclined to initiate friendships themselves for one reason or another may feel that, since nobody is reaching out to them, there are no potential friends out there.

In this month’s feature, Arman Noorani, a student with terminal muscular dystrophy, revealed that he sometimes eats lunch alone. This struck a chord in the Tam News staff, but it also served to remind us that Noorani isn’t the only student with this problem. While some students may choose to eat alone, for others it is less of a choice than an unfortunate inevitability.

High school is as much a social environment as it is a place to learn, and everyone deserves to have that full high school experience. Even if it’s small, a friendly gesture can make someone’s day. Say hello to somebody in the halls, like Early Cobb (see page 9). Strike up a conversation with a distant acquaintance. Take new people out to lunch in your car; not everyone has access to fun off-campus lunches.

We understand that this editorial won’t bring about a social revolution at Tam, but we urge our readers to imagine themselves in the shoes of those who feel alone.

Next time you have to pick a class partner, try to choose someone new.

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