Paying it Forward

Amber - Rexburg, Idaho
Entered on January 21, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

It was the second semester of my sophomore year in high school. My family had just moved across the country from Las Vegas to Nashville due to a job change with my Dad. I knew absolutely no one, and was about to walk late into a classroom at my new high school not knowing what to expect on the other side. Taking a deep breath, I opened the door to be faced with a huge class turning to stare at who had just come in. I uncertainly walked up to the teacher, wanting desperately to just sit down and blend in with the rest of the class. After the class was over, I was surprised that many students came up and introduced themselves to me. I felt hope, and a small ray of comfort.

Although it took many weeks to have people who I could call friends, most everyone was friendly enough to offer a smile as I passed them in the hall, or as we met eyes in the lunch room. It instilled a sense of acceptance and even belonging that made me feel a little better about being in a new place miles away from everything familiar.

As I adjusted to all the change that comes with moving, it was those little smiles from students who, even though they were still strangers, helped me get through my day.

I have since taken those smiles, the feelings of comfort and belonging they bring, and have done my best to pass them on. Since doing so, I notice myself a little happier and positive whether or not the recipient of my smile is affected. Knowing how much I needed something to help me through a hard time, no matter how small it was, and knowing there are constantly people in their owns times of need, I strive to add a bit of hope to someone’s day by simply sharing a smile. I believe we can be a generally happier people if we all started smiling just a little more.