note: at the end of the semester, i saw something that made me think about the exact impact of swiss high school on my friends. hopefully it'll make you think about it too.
it sounds funny, even a little ridiculous that so much drama should be attached to one small grade. but it wasn't just a grade-- if her grade was insufficient, she'd have to leave school. she couldn't come back in january, and she'd have to wait till summer and repeat the whole year.
there was complete silence when our teacher got to her name. a group of students gathered around her chair, waiting and hoping and dreading at the same time.
and then our teacher announced the grade, and it was enough. the girl was staying.
she'd made it.
there was a brief pause and then everyone started screaming and hugging her and screaming again and jumping up and down and shouting congratulations. it was crazy, all seventeen of us freaking out over a tiny number on a piece of paper.
so then i looked over at the girl. she was completely silent, speechless, sitting in her chair.
she had the biggest smile i've ever seen,
and tears were running down her face.