The day before I started senior year of high school I packed my backpack with the only two writing utensils I have really ever needed: A blue Pentel mechanical pencil with 07 lead and a blue Sharpie highlighter. Both of these items have never failed me.
With just the right lead, my pencil glides over the paper smoothly, silently penning each stroke and creating sharp, dark letters. I have gone through trial and error with regular pencils, other brands, and even pens before coming to settle on this specific brand, lead type, and individual pencil. I cannot say how many times my portable pencil sharpener dumped its contents into the depths of my backpack, automatically ruling out the common Dixon Ticonderoga as my preferred pencil. I have suffered through pencils whose lead snapped at sudden symbols, squeaked through every syllable, and smeared through erasing stray graphite stains. As a student who writes enough to cause my hand to ache at the end of particularly demanding days, having the right pencil is something I have never taken for granted. I could not take the same meticulous notes, explain my reasoning clearly on tests, or be proud of the name written in the top corner of the paper without the perfect pencil. I can only wish I had found a suitable pencil sooner.
The partner to my pencil takes the form of my blue highlighter. Just as I had spent time looking for a pencil that would not fail me, I engaged in a similar process to settle on this particular brand. I can add to my notes, brighten my page and draw attention to key phrases with a few simple strokes of the pen. It was not a coincidence that I selected the blue I did. It brings my favorite color to an otherwise lifeless grey and white page. Yet at the same time, it does not overtake the words underneath the bright cerulean hue. It does not blur the individual letters into a mess of grey blotches. It does not smudge across the page to create a distracting arc of color. It perfectly lives up to its name and merely highlights the necessary information.
There is not a plethora of mundane things that bring me joy throughout the school day. I walk the same exact route to all my classes, down to the minute, often talking about the same things with the same people. One would think that using the same two utensils everyday would be boring or at the least too insignificant to write an essay on. But I have chosen to love my pencil and highlighter and acknowledge what they do for me everyday. It is interesting to stop and think about what we take for granted from something as simple as a pencil all the way up to our friends and family. I am grateful that I took the time to place my school day into perspective and learn a new appreciation for my writing utensils. I will certainly think about how valuable they are the next time I reach into my bag to take out my pencil and highlighter and begin a new day.