Crashing into realization

Jessica Katz, Opinions Editor

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Graphic by YuLian Leshuk

was hit by a car.

The driver foolishly steered into a busy road, ignoring blaring horns directed at him. He slammed into the back of my Honda, sending it flying into another car. Panicked, I stumbled out of my car to see the damage that had been done. With both sides smashed in, my vehicle resembled a crushed soda can.

And his excuse: “I wasn’t paying attention.”

The driver was not under the influence or looking at his phone. He had no idea how the accident happened or who was to blame. In fact, he appeared too bewildered to answer any of the questions police threw at him and didn’t seem to recognize that he initiated a full-blown accident.

I could have been spared thousands of dollars in vehicle damages, a trip to the emergency room and six weeks of physical therapy if he had just paid attention.

It’s that simple.

As students, we seem to be trying our hardest to do anything but remain alert in class. Whether we’re doodling in our notebooks, checking up on Snapchat streaks, or contemplating our plans for the weekend, paying attention has sunken lower and lower on our list of priorities. While our bodies are present, our minds are wandering up in space, and we don’t realize all that we’re missing out on.

Those of us who would rather do anything except listen to a teacher are the same ones complaining about a failed test. By the time we recognize it’s our own fault for not paying attention, the damage has already been done. One failed test becomes multiple: an A turns into a C, and we’re stuck with ongoing confusion.

When we don’t listen, we can’t learn, and we can’t move forward.

I admit, it can be quite calming to take a step back from reality for a moment to daydream. But we aren’t robots programmed with all of the information we’ll ever need in our lives. In every situation, we have to engage ourselves in the road ahead of us to learn, grow and succeed.

Whether we’re staring at our phones or merely daydreaming, we’re basically driving with our eyes closed.

And then we crash.

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Crashing into realization