The second to last song in our set, which happened to be the fourth language we sang in, came to a screeching halt as the director disappointedly dropped his arms to his side. The New Jersey Region One Women’s Choir contained the top hundred women of a thousand who auditioned, “How could Dr. Bishop not be pleased with our perfect Latin, flawless harmonies, and round vowels?” I thought, “What else could he ask of us?”
At that moment he turned to look at each individual face in the group, and finally told us that technically the songs sounded perfect, but the most important thing was missing. “What is your favorite part of any song in our set?” He questioned. One by one each girl listed a different measure or two or twelve that she admired. “You see?” He exclaimed, “One of you is having a special moment at any time in our performance, and each of you want it to be perfect, but if you can’t do that for the girl next to you, then how can you ask for it in return?”
Dr. Bishop’s words lived with me throughout the concert and for the next year to come. In my life, the amount of effort those around me put into a task or activity reflects onto me as well, especially in high school. During school spirit week Freshman year, I was ecstatic to wear my neon leggings, obscure hats, and teased hair. However, when the school as a whole ignored the “excitement” of it all, it discouraged me from being my creative and energetic self. I quickly realized however, that minimizing my spunkiness to plain black leggings, a baseball cap and braids also minimized the experience for students the same way mine had been. Doing so created a chain reaction. Since then I’ve devoted my entire spirit week to looking as ridiculous as possible. Not only have I pleased myself, but I have encouraged my friends to participate as well, and created an overall more spirited community in my eyes.
This quote was also carried with me to every class along with my attitude, behavior, and forty pound backpack. I realized that just because I dislike a certain class, does not give me the right to ruin it for another student. In my painting class, many of those enrolled were only taking the class for arts credits. As I designed the intricate pattern with my gentle brush, I quietly observed the paintings around me with the shallow backgrounds and bland colors. The more I noticed their bad attitude and effort, the more I saw how it impacted me. I found myself giving less than my all, simply because no one else was.
As I go on to senior year, college, and the rest of my life, I strive to leave each person I meet or interact with better than when I meet them. Our energy thrives and grows from others, and whether that energy is bright and happy, or dark and opaque is up to those around you. I am happy that I can choose who I surround myself with, and be someone that people enjoy because of lessons and words from others. Energy cannot be destroyed, only transferred, and we are one endless cycle of transfer.