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The Power of "Hi"
Khushi Devadiga, '19

Hello everyone! This is the story of how I changed my surroundings and school life by NOT using my cell phone around school and students.

Let me introduce myself to you. My name is Khushi Devadiga and I am a junior from India. I came to America two years ago and I love being here although I miss many aspects of my home like all of my friends still in India. While I was on my way to America I had many questions: How am I going to make friends? Will people like me? What if they don’t? Will I even find friends? These and many more questions popped up. On my first day of school at CHCA I had an ambassador named Abby, a very sweet girl. She helped me to make it through my first day. On that day, a day that began with many fears and questions, I really felt like she was an angel for me because, being from a different country, I didn’t know anybody except for her. Abby’s willingness to be my friend really helped me.

Khushi (far right) at an ice skating event with ISP friends.

After my first few weeks at school I started thinking “Why don’t I have more friends?’ ‘How should I make more friends?’ ‘Where am I going wrong?’ I started observing myself. One thing I observed was that when I was alone or around people I didn’t know, I used to my cell phone to get away from them or if I had a PRT (free bell) or lunch I would come and sit inside the ISP office where nobody would bother me. While it felt like the comfortable thing to do because I had no friends, it was not helping me at all to make friends either! The thing I observed was that if I wanted to make friends, I need to be the one to make a move. If you say "HI" then others will say "HI", and I am pretty sure they will engage in conversation with some questions. As I found, sometimes, instead of waiting for others to make the first move, you have to make the first move yourself. It is hard and it takes time, but it is worth it. I am still testing this method. I stopped using my cell phone for a couple months and was surprised that during this time almost all the juniors knew me and there were many people who knew me even though I didn’t know them. This all happened just with a small "HI".

Khushi enjoys Lunar New Year with her new American friend Jordynn Jenkins.

Khushi enjoys Lunar New Year with her new American friend Jordynn Jenkins.

You can also make friends by participating in sports, clubs or group projects. When I was new I knew I would make friends but I didn’t know I would make so many friends. I am an extrovert and an introvert and it took me almost six months to open up to people and be the real me. I have discovered that when you work for something for a long time and when you achieve it, the happiness is just so different. In conclusion, if you want to make friends, try not to use your phone as protection when you are around people, and try to initiate and participate in conversations as much as you can. A little ‘hi’ can make all the difference.

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