Students who are in the midst of isolation (bullying’s passive counterpart) are too often too clouded by emotion to see any necessary steps that might enable them an escape, or rather, a rescue. As time passes and circumstances change, those who have endured hardship and made it through unscathed are able to reflect on their experiences and see solutions they were unable to see while in the midst of being socially quarantined. Time and space from traumatic events have the potential to allow the experiencer a pedestal from which to view their past struggles with unfettered eyes.
Such is the example we see in Natalie Hampton, the designer of the new app Sit With Us. Natalie is a 16-year-old junior who, four years ago in seventh-grade, experienced an entire year of isolation. That school year, she ate lunch by herself; every single day. She was isolated and then bullied as a result of her isolation. Natalie endured a year of suffering alone but has since switched schools and made many new friends. She designed the app Sit With Us as a way to help other students who may not have found a way out of social confinement yet. The app allows users to find other students who are seeking company at lunch. Since the open invitation and the acceptance therein are digital, there is no public rejection, no awkward, solitary walk in plain view of the entire cafeteria.
Natalie Hampton is an example of how those who have overcome adversity can reflect on their past struggles and become the helping hand that they always wished they had. Individuals have the power to rescue the present representations of their past selves.