Editor-in-Chief Farewell: Ryo Weng


Ryo Weng

I couldn’t help that I was born into a society that interprets my relaxed facial expression as being sad. My default look, my neutral gear, when I’m thinking of absolutely nothing, looks like I just lost the rest of my senior year or something along those lines. 

I began realizing that it was a problem when people would ask me “What’s wrong?” an unusual amount of times in a day. “Nothing,” I would respond. Over the years, my responses accumulated and started to form a vague cloud of realization. But I never saw it as my problem. 

Bark has made me a better public speaker, mediator, leader, writer, photographer—this list can go on for miles—but the most unique thing, something that no other class at Redwood could do, was teach me about the power of a smile. 

Inspiring the class at the front of the room for the entire discounted year has been a privilege, but it has also given me the ability to self-reflect. No one wants to walk into class to see a teacher looking mad, so why would someone want that same experience with me? Through each time I have rang the bell to get the class’s attention, I have been adapting my relaxed face to be more approachable and to look more content. Given my platform over the past year, it has allowed me to understand that my emotions can have an immediate impact on those around me. 

Through my eyes now, it even seems selfish that I couldn’t put on a smile that takes me no effort in order to make my peers more comfortable. Moving toward a new chapter in my life with many new interactions, I am now aware of how perceptions and first impressions can be faltered from a lack of expression. My attitude can be portrayed as negative with a solemn facial expression, but through Bark, I’ve come to see the advantages of presenting myself with a smile. 

Moving outside of the cozy corner classroom on campus, I am still improving my proficiency in the universal language of smiling. I smile when the weather’s nice out. I smile when I’m with friends. I still don’t smile when a freshman flat tires me in the halls, but I do know now that slapping on a smile in life can help take an edge off things.