Michelle Kim, Groton School
January 31, 2020

My Experience with Sustainability:

As an incoming boarder, I arrived at the steps of my dormitory with high hopes. Pushing against the door, I was greeted with a camp-themed hallway that seemed endless. The ceiling lights illuminated the path like a glowing red carpet. Noises of showers being turned on and toilets flushing rushed into my ears, arming me with a sense of communal establishment. Such ordinary aspects were deafening - by the evident presence of literal energy, the dormitory already had an aura of comfort despite just being introduced to new students. 

Settling into my room was an easy task; I quickly acclimated to switching my ceiling light, desk light, and LED decorations on while adjusting a new humidifier and plugging chargers into every possible outlet. My room emulated an overbearing welcome, as the LED lights periodically flashed hues of blues and pinks. I gradually developed a sense of greed: twenty more seconds of the faucet being turned on while I brushed my teeth didn’t seem like the end of the world. The desk light, bright with furor, was left unused and abandoned until study hall. 

I admit that my energy-management was reasonably lacking. My realization hit me as soon as I walked past my other peers’ rooms. Ceiling lights tricked me into thinking they were in their rooms; yet, most of the time, I was only greeted with the sight of made beds and barren desks. Other times, I’d go in and out of sleep because of my roommate’s lights seeping into my side. When calling her name, I’d get no response. Lugging my body off the bed, I trudged over to the other side just to not see her.

In some sense, karma had gotten back at me. The girl that had so loved to have every possible energy source on was experiencing the opposite short end of the stick. Sustainability is far more important than as a metaphor; countless people will waste resources thinking their consequences are trivial. Individually, such cases seem dismissible. However, it is a mistake to not see the bigger picture - to disregard the importance of conservation just to fulfill our (possibly lazy) pleasures. LED and ceiling lights do not make you seem wanted; the incessant sound of water against the sink is worth a sliver of your energy to switch it off. 

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